Biological Sciences

Start up boosted by funding to build low cost bioreactors

OGI Bio, a university of Edinburgh start-up company, is developing affordable and innovative solutions for automation and analysis of microbial culturing (bacteria, yeast or algae).


The innovative start-up company has just secured pre-seed investment from Apollo Informal Investment and its first customer orders.  

Many industrial R&D processes require growing microbes, but keeping the conditions optimal is a real challenge.

As microbes multiply, they can become overcrowded and upset the balance in the nutrient broth in which they are grown. This needs to be monitored closely and adjusted – a laborious manual process.  

Professor Teuta Pilizota and Dr Alex McVey, of the UK Centre of Mammalian Synthetic Biology and School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, have overcome this challenge by creating a device that automatically samples, analyses and adjust the microbes’ environment. 

Sampling systems do exist but are often too bulky and expensive for most researchers, and often do not offer sufficient analytical capability.

OGI Bio has already received orders for two of its devices and has interest from many other potential customers.

The start-up company were also named as semi-finalists for the coveted Converge Award and won an Innovative Company in the recent Scottish Edge IBioIC Awards.

They were also one of the 40 companies to benefit from the Scottish Government/Scottish Enterprise Unlocking Ambition Accelerator, which comes with an additional £25k of funding.

The research underpinning the development of this device arose from work carried out by Dr Alex McVey and Marijana Krivic as researchers at the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology, funded by the BBSRC and the Research Councils’ Synthetic Biology for Growth Programme. 

We are delighted to have secured our first private funding. The pre-seed investment from Apollo and the first orders are validation that we are meeting a real need out there.

Professor Teuta PilizotaCo-Founder of OGI Bio

Apollo Informal Investment

Founded in 2013, our mission is to provide seed investment to new startups based in Scotland/UK and to provide exciting investment opportunities for our members. We are sector agnostic with a very strong preference for SEIS eligible investment opportunities. Our members have a wide variety of backgrounds and support our investee companies with their knowledge and experience.  

UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology 

Founded in 2014, the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology is pioneering the application of engineered biology to gain insight into human health and disease and to transform medicine and healthcare. 

OGI Bio 

OGI Bio is a new start-up from the University of Edinburgh whose mission is to revolutionise the way that microbes are grown and managed.