Synthetic biology project takes flight

A project involving University biologists is being supported with a major grant.

The Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, has awarded over £240,000 to a consortium including two Edinburgh-based companies - Synpromics Ltd and Genabler Ltd - and the University.

The grant will fund a collaborative project that will seek to use synthetic biology - the design and construction of biological devices and systems - to more effectively create proteins, such as those used in drug manufacture.

The project, which will begin in May 2013, could help increase production yields in fields such as the manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals.

The Kinetic Parameter Facility, based at the University's SynthSys centre, will lead Edinburgh's involvement in the project. The facility contains state-of-the-art experimental equipment for use in synthetic biology.

“We are excited at the opportunity to lead this important project and we applaud the support being provided by the Technology Strategy Board to the rapidly emerging field of synthetic biology.”

Dr Michael L RobertsChief Executive, Synpromics

Drug advances

The University has a long history of developing groundbreaking new treatments.

In the early 1980s, Professor Ken Murray developed the first genetically engineered vaccine against Hepatitis B, saving countless lives across the world.

Joseph Lister, the father of antisepsis, was Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University. While at Edinburgh, he developed methods to reduce infection in patients.

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Synpromics Ltd