The first phase of BRIC, BRIC1, supported 25 innovative research projects at 19 institutions with £13.7 million of funding and has developed the UK bioprocessing community through biannual dissemination meetings since 2007. Funding available for research projects has now been awarded through three rounds of funding.
The scopes of the calls for proposals were identified by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Working Group and the BRIC Steering Group.
In 2009 an interim evaluation of the first phase of BRIC was published, alongside a report from a working group on the next phase of BRIC. Both reports concluded that BRIC1 had been a great success, and recommended continuation into a second phase of BRIC, and the working group report in particular started to map the areas for future research into bioprocessing. A BRIC future plans workshop held in December 2009 took this forward to identify and prioritise research priorities for BRIC2.
BRIC phase 1 activities and research projects concluded in 2012.
The third call focused on:
- alternative processes for the recovery and purification of biopharmaceutical products
- bioprocess integration and intensification for biopharmaceutical manufacture
- quantification and characterisation of products and impurities in biopharmaceutical manufacture.
Nine projects were funded totalling £4.7 million.
- Lyophilization of proteins – an in-situ study on structural changes and molecular interactions
- An amphipathic reagent to extract, stabilise and purify proteins
- Raman spectroscopy as a novel analytical bioprocessing tool for PAT
- Developing scalable and standardised manufacturing methods for human pluripotent stem cells
- Non-invasive biophotonics tool for phenotypic identification of pluripotent stem cells and their progeny
- Exploitation of the Tat export machinery for protein production by bacteria
- Bioprocess Intensification by MicroCapillary Separations Systems
- Integrating upstream host cell line selection and development with improved downstream bioprocessing
- A novel characterisation and separation technique for pluripotent human embryonic and hematopoietic stem cells.
The second call focused on:
- rapid bioprocess development
- improved downstream bioprocessing and understanding
- controlling and manipulating metabolism in microbial fermentation.
Seven projects were funded totalling £3.5 million.
- Identifying and overcoming protein secretion bottlenecks in yeast and filamentous fungal cell factories
- Combined /omics approaches to understand and control library enriched microbial cell factories
- Pichia pastoris protein secretion: analysis of constraints, optimisation and methods development
- Multifunctional Chromatography materials for improved downstream processing
- Protein nucleation and crystallisation on novel 3-D templates
- Delta3D; Bench top assays for the rapid detection of protein 3D structural changes
- New approaches to high throughput protein, isolation, purification and concentration.
The first call was open to all areas of the BRIC remit.
Nine projects were funded totalling £5 million and mainly focused on mammalian cell culture.
- A new microfluidic tool for rapid analysis of protein stability and integrity in bioprocesses
- Application of metabolomics profiling of recombinant mammalian cells to bioprocess design
- Packaging cell lines for inherently manufacturable viral vectors
- Characterization of post-transcriptional constraints that determine rP yield during bioprocessing in mammalian cells
- A Novel Bioreactor System for Manufacturing in Stem Cell Therapy and Tissue Engineering
- Identification of novel signal transducers in the mammalian unfolded protein response
- Microbial physiology underpinning the production of difficult recombinant proteins
- Modelling cellular processes underpinning recombinant monoclonal antibody production by mammalian cells
- Strategy for the consistent preparation of sufficient non-viral large chromosomal vectors for biopharmaceutical applications.
Dr Mark Bustard, BRIC Coordinator
Telephone: 07920 202649