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18th February 2020

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Knowledge Transfer Partnership: Reflection & Planning

Biocatalysts A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project has been underway between Biocatalysts Ltd and University College of London (UCL) for 18 months and will end in September 2020. Now feels like an excellent opportunity in the new year to reflect and plan for the future of this project, and beyond.

Firstly, this project has proved valuable when looking at process improvements and optimisation for Biocatalysts Ltd who are continuously looking to invest in this area in the future, especially as scales get bigger and the 10,000L fermenter facility is realised – officially opening on the 18th March 2020.

Clearly at this scale each percentage improvement made corresponds to a significant volume and hence product recovery, but it is also important as increased efficiency means less waste and Biocatalysts Ltd are continually looking to further minimise their environmental impact.

The KTP has demonstrated the value of effective knowledge transfer with tangible benefits having industrial and academic experts collaborate in this fashion. It’s important to find ways to continue this productive relationship, exploring and executing improvement options in such a complex and dynamic industry as the industrial biotechnology sector.

As the KTP Associate, it has been my responsibility to facilitate this knowledge transfer and it has been extremely rewarding to see the project’s aims succeeding.
Biocatalysts
Further Ultra Scale-down (USD) experimentation has been undertaken and combined with Design of Experiments (DoE) to create a powerful and efficient predictive scale-up/scale-down tool. This is explored in the poster linked here which I presented at 16th Annual bioProcessUK Conference 2019 – receiving great feedback sparking further development of ideas.

We have already been successful in creating optimal operational windows to work within when scaling up. Further exploration of these conditions will be investigated with the introduction of the USD kompAs shear device, which mimics the shear particles are exposed to in the feed zone in disc stack centrifuges. This should improve our measurements and understanding of what will happen upon scale-up and hence improve our predictions.

I have also been responsible for enhancing and developing the company’s 3L downstream processing guidelines which outline which downstream processing train should be used depending on organism used and overall objective. I have, with the help of scientists and operators, explored all the current downstream processing options we have at Biocatalysts. With UCL input, we are determining the most efficient and predictive 3L downstream processing options to ensure we can provide samples as quickly as possible and identify critical control points in our operation; invaluable for scale-up.

Check back in soon to find out how these subprojects are progressing and what else we are working on.

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