CHAIN has been awarded £0.5M grant funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation agency, to expand its range of biotechnology products. Building on a successful synthetic biology program, the grants support further development of CHAIN’s proprietary Clostridium platform for therapeutic and specialty chemical applications.
A two-year project will focus on the development of novel therapeutics targeting gut-related disease. CHAIN has successfully demonstrated the use of Clostridium to deliver small molecules to the gut. In this project, we will expand the range of therapeutics to include anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory peptides. This work will be carried out in collaboration with leading researchers in Clostridium genetics at the Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Nottingham.
The second project focuses on the production of high-value chiral chemicals. CHAIN has already successfully developed a Clostridium strain that produces (R) 1,3 butanediol, an important building block for several nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products. In this project, we plan to improve microbial performance and deliver a cost-completive fermentation process for chemical production.
CHAIN is currently focused on the testing and progression of its lead gut microbiome therapeutic for the clinic, targeting inflammatory bowel disease.
Dr Edward Green, Chief Executive at CHAIN comments
“Grant funding supports our highly skilled discovery team, based at the SBRC and strengthens ties with the Centre. Ultimately, this serves to build and accelerate our product discovery pipeline without undue distraction from our lead product.”
This article first appeared on chainbiotech.com on 09/09/2017 and was covered by SynBioBeta synthetic biology news: https://synbiobeta.com/chain-awarded-0-5m-grant-funding-develop-healthcare-platform/.
CHAIN plans to attend a record number of microbiome and biotech conferences over the next year to showcase our therapeutic platform and identify partners for the development of novel, targeted therapies.
First up is the Spores Conference in April where our Technical Product Manager, Dr Daniela Heeg, will speak about CHAIN’s novel therapeutic delivery platform. The list below is by no means exhaustive – so watch this space! Follow CHAIN on twitter and LinkedIn for updates.
8th European Spores Conference
April 16-19, Royal Holloway University of London, UK
West Midlands Immunology Group: Intestinal Inflammation and Microbiota
April 18, University of Birmingham, UK
Biotech Investment Showcase
May 22-23, London, UK
2nd Annual Microbiome Discovery and Development Congress
June 7-8, Berlin, Germany
Microbiome Drug Development
June 19-21, Boston, USA
7th International Human Microbiome Congress 2018
June 26-28, APC Microbiome Institute Cork, Ireland
CHAIN are excited to announce the launch of our re-designed website. The new look features a sleek design optimised for mobile and tablet readers to showcase our novel technology platform and how microbiome therapy. In addition to our main site, we now have an e-shop for customers to purchase molecular biology tools and strains.
Microbiome Therapy in Pictures
We have created clear and descriptive infographics to explain our unique and proprietary technology in partnership with web design company Starbit, specialists in biotech web design. Clear and informative diagrams showcase our Clostridium-Assisted Drug Delivery Platform, the complex relationship of microbiome-host interactions with illness, and how CHAIN are using Clostridia to develop novel targeted therapies for a range of diseases.
Our long-time partners at Starbit implemented our vision with care and detail. Jonathan Stevens, Creative Director of Starbit, adds, “We have continued to work closely with CHAIN since we designed and developed their first website back in 2015. It has been hugely satisfying to see our brand identity, infographics and digital design work put to use throughout the growth of the company.”
Online Store for Tools and Strains
Our online store is now available for purchasing licensed molecular biology tools and engineered strains. The pMTL80000 modular vector series for Clostridium spp. bacteria is available as a kit, and a range of new vectors for strain engineering by Allelic Exchange will be added to the store in the coming weeks. In addition, engineered strains of Clostridium spp. with pyrE gene locus disrupted by Allele-Coupled Exchange are available for purchase, as is the E. coli CA434 conjugation strain for use with pMTL80000 series vectors.
CHAIN’s Technical Product Manager, Dr Daniela Heeg, adds, “The new e-commerce platform includes an extended product range, allows direct and quick purchasing of our products for academic customers, and will feature all new developments with time. It will thus help CHAIN to reach its target audience quicker and more efficiently. The new platform is more customer-friendly, it reduces the time for orders to be processed and will subsequently lead to quicker delivery of orders to the customer.”
Academic customers purchase through our new e-store via PayPal while commercial customers can request a quote from our sales team through the contact form or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHAIN welcomes to its Board of Directors the recent appointment of Dr Mike McDonald and Peter McPartland as Non-Executive Directors. The appointments follow CHAIN’s successful seed investment round, led by Rainbow Seed Fund, earlier this year.
Dr McDonald, a physician, brings 30 years of experience in US and European drug development. He has leadership and management experience with major therapeutics and pharmaceuticals companies. His past appointments include VP of Global Clinical Research and Medical Affairs with Eli Lilly, Chief Medical Officer of Seattle Genetics Inc and Oxford Biomedica, and CEO of Genepod Therapeutics AB.
Mr McPartland is an independent life sciences venture capital consultant, with specific investment expertise in drug discovery and development. Mr McPartland also brings management experience as well as market knowledge and financial oversight capability to CHAIN. He holds a degree in Pharmacology and has served as Non-Executive Director of Redx Pharma Plc, an AIM-listed early stage drug discovery and development firm, and as interim Managing Director of Reacta Biotech, a Manchester-based allergy diagnostics start-up.
The new appointees join CHAIN’s highly experienced management board chaired by Robert Rickman and will guide the company to further success in the field of microbiome therapeutics.
CHAIN Biotechnology is proud to announce that it is a finalist in two competitions celebrating excellence in the fields of biotechnology and life sciences. CHAIN has made it to the final round of the OBN Awards for “Best Emerging UK Synthetic Biotech” and the Institute of Chemical Engineering (IChemE) Global Awards for “Best Business Start-Up”.
The OBN Awards, now in their 8th year, celebrate innovation and achievement across the UK life sciences industry. The category of Best Emerging UK Synthetic Biotech recognises the emerging industrial or synthetic biotech companies that have shown the most promise.
The IChemE Global Awards, established in 1994, highlight excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical, biochemical and process industries. The category of Best Business Start-Up recognises the top organisation, within or serving the chemical, biochemical and process industries, to be formed in the last five years.
The Awards ceremonies will be held later this year, beginning with the OBN Awards on October 6 in Oxford Town Hall, followed by the IChemE Global Awards on November 3 in The Palace Hotel, Manchester.
CHAIN is delighted to be a finalist in these prestigious competitions. In just two short years, CHAIN has expanded its workforce and spread to two locations at high-ranking UK Universities. CHAIN’s expert team and unique ‘spin-in’ business model has allowed the company to become a leader in the field of Clostridia technology in this short time.
LONDON, UK, 10 AUGUST 2016 — CHAIN Biotechnology Ltd has successfully completed a 12-month research project entitled “Chiral Chemical Synthesis in Clostridia”. The research was supported by a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
Specifically, CHAIN has demonstrated a new way to change the stereochemistry of intracellular metabolism in Clostridia bacteria, resulting in the re-direction of carbon flow towards R-chiral chemicals rather than the natural S-form. This change in stereochemistry, referred to as the “Chiral Switch™”, resulted in the production of two new renewable chemical products; 1,3 butanediol and 3-hydroxybutyrate.
During this project, CHAIN demonstrated the technical feasibility of applying the Chiral Switch™ technology in several different species. The genetic modification was stabilised using advanced genetic tools to achieve chromosomal integration, and the fermentation conditions were optimised to increase product yield.
The chiral purity and delivery of chiral chemicals in the correct R-enantiomeric form is critical to ensure safety and efficacy, especially when formulated into nutritional and pharmaceutical products. Currently, chiral chemicals are manufactured as by-products from oil-refining through unsustainable, complex and often costly chemical synthesis processes. In contrast, CHAIN’s Chiral Switch™ technology provides a new fermentation method for the production of specific R-chiral chemicals. The technology supports a cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable route to these high value chemicals.
Clostridium is a genus of bacterium proven for industrial chemical production. Solvent producing strains have been used for commodity chemical (acetone and butanol) fermentation since the early 1900s. Recent technological breakthroughs have allowed the genetic manipulation of these economically and industrially important bacteria, unlocking their potential to make higher value fine chemicals.
Edward Green, Chief Executive says, “CHAIN uses advanced gene editing tools for Clostridia and has demonstrated for the first time the use of synthetic biology for the production of novel and specific chiral chemicals in Clostridium. Our proprietary Chiral Switch, we have exemplified and patented, is a powerful mechanism that unlocks the commercial viability of the Clostridium chassis. This important breakthrough supports the production of specific high value chiral chemicals and demonstrates CHAIN’s technology leadership with Clostridium bacteria. This innovation provides us with a significant competitive advantage for high value products and we are working with industry partners to translate the research into commercial opportunities.”
CHAIN Biotechnology Ltd. (CHAIN) is an early-stage biotechnology Company based at Imperial College, London and the University of Nottingham. The Company aims to develop and exploit Clostridium bacteria for a wide range of high value biotechnology markets and applications. CHAIN has recruited a team of experts and assembled world class partners to build an advanced technology platform for Clostridium. The Company deploys proprietary “cutting edge” synthetic biology methods to improve production characteristics in strains selected from our unique collection of industrial strains. Quite simply CHAIN is the “Clostridia Technology Company”.
June 11, 2016 – London, UK. CHAIN Biotechnology Ltd has won grant funding for two new research collaborations which advance CHAIN’s synthetic biology platform and microbial engineering capabilities.
The first project – called PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) – sees CHAIN partnering with the University of Nottingham. PUFA will use advances in synthetic biology to develop microbial fermentation on methane gas to produce a sustainable source of valuable Omega 3 fatty acids which are currently harvested from fish oil. This ground-breaking research will be performed at the University of Nottingham’s £14.3m Synthetic Biology Research Centre and is funded by InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation agency. This project will run for one year and cements the current partnership between CHAIN and the University.
CHAIN has also secured a grant to facilitate collaboration with Singapore-based AdvanceSyn to develop a predictive model to aid in Clostridium metabolic engineering. CHAIN will provide growth and metabolic data from their Chiral Switch™ strains of Clostridium to feed into the computer model being developed by AdvanceSyn. The model will be used to identify metabolic “bottlenecks”, supporting a rational strategy for genetic manipulation and Clostridium strain improvement for high-value chemical production. The project is funded by SynbiCITE (Imperial College, London).
CHAIN’s Chief Executive, Dr Edward Green, said: “PUFA builds on our existing relationship with the University of Nottingham in translating academic outputs to high-value nutritional products. The modelling project with AdvanceSyn is a new collaboration that allows us to access metabolic modelling capability to accelerate our strain development efforts. Both projects align with CHAIN’s core values: Technical Leadership, Making a Difference, Teamwork and Partnership.”
CHAIN Biotechnology Ltd, The Clostridia Technology Company, was founded by Dr Edward Green and Dr Basil Omar in 2014 to develop strains and tools for the metabolic engineering of Clostridia bacteria for use in industrial biotechnology, healthcare and nutritional markets. The Company utilises cutting-edge synthetic biology techniques and leading experts in the field to develop new technologies and products in a cheaper, sustainable and eco-friendly way.
CHAIN has hired two new world class scientific team members to expand its role in Clostridia Technology and cement its position in world-leading synthetic biology.
Dr Janina Koelschbach comes to CHAIN from the Biofilm Centre at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, where she set up a laboratory for anaerobic research. She earned her PhD in Microbial Biochemistry from the Technical University of Munich working in the field of anaerobic microbial degradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Her research involved synthetic biology and microbial engineering of challenging and unconventional microorganisms.
Janina will bring with her a wealth of knowledge and experience, and will undertake the role of scientific project lead on the Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) project at the Synthetic Biology Research Centre in Nottingham. Fatty acids, like Omega 3, are essential for growth but are currently sourced from dwindling fish stocks. The aim of the project is to explore a potentially sustainable, environmentally-friendly route to fatty acids like Omega 3 through fermentation.
In support of CHAIN’s commercial agreement with the University of Nottingham to promote and commercialise the University’s pMTL80000 series of modular plasmids, we have brought Dr Daniela Heeg on board as Technical Product Manager to oversee development, management and global distribution of the modular plasmid series, as well as providing expert customer technical support. Daniela performed her PhD working on clostridial spores as part of the Marie Curie Network CLOSTNET under Prof Nigel Minton at the University of Nottingham. There, she gained valuable personal knowledge and experience working with clostridia and the modular plasmids she is currently overseeing.
Daniela has a history of clostridia research. She continued her work as a postdoctoral researcher in Prof Minton’s Clostridium Research Group, working with the pathogen Clostridium difficile in collaboration with the Biomedical Research Unit of Nottingham University’s Queen’s Medical Centre. Daniela’s background in Clostridium and spore research adds significant weight to CHAIN’s position as leaders in the field of Clostridia.
London, UK, 23 December, 2015
CHAIN has successfully completed its first round of seed funding last month with the support of a consortium of business angels based in the UK. Business angels are investors who bring expertise and provide start-up capital. CHAIN will use the funds to strengthen its unique technology platform based on the development of advanced microbes for the production of high value chemicals.
CHAIN also welcomes Robert Rickman and Paul Green to the Board of Directors. Mr Rickman will act as Chair and Mr Green joins as a non-executive director. Mr Rickman is a Partner in Rockley Group and holds MA and MSc degrees from the University of Oxford. He is a director at Schroder UK Midcap Investment Trust plc and Carclo plc, as well as a number of private companies. Mr Green has over 25 years of professional management experience with leading multinationals in global and Middle East-focused roles.
Dr Edward Green, Chief Executive of CHAIN, comments, “We are delighted to complete our first investment which provides early validation of our business model. I am also pleased to welcome Paul and Robert to the Board. Both have a wealth of financial and business acumen that will prove invaluable as CHAIN transitions from an early stage business towards a technology and market leader in Industrial Biotechnology.”
CHAIN operates at two sites; Imperial College, London and the SBRC at the University of Nottingham.
Central to CHAIN’s business proposition is the provision of a New and Advanced Anaerobic Fermentation Technology Platform for a variety of Industrial Biotechnology products and applications. CHAIN are very interested in forming development partnerships with companies interested in novel reductive enzymes, anti-microbials, bio-polymers & fine/speciality chemicals. To discuss how our CHAIN’s platform may offer advantages for your particular applications contact Business Development manager Ben Bradley. Ben.email@example.com
Dr David Kirk
CHAIN Biotech has successfully completed a feasibility study into altering bacterial metabolism to produce novel chemicals. The four-month project was funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and performed at Imperial College, London.
In nature, some chemicals exist in two forms which are mirror images of each other, like our left and right hands – the S and R forms. Chemical synthesis often results in a racemic mixture which contains both forms. However, one form may have a detrimental effect while the other has a positive one. In its project, CHAIN has succeeded in producing and analysing a right-handed R-form of a chemical from a bacterial host.
Presenting key findings at the Innovate UK Collaboration Nation event in London last Wednesday, CHAIN’s Business Development Manager, Mr Ben Bradley, said “During this project we validated our ‘chiral switch’ technology which allows us to change the stereochemistry of key intracellular metabolites. We can now produce chemicals in the R-form, rather than the native S-form, that is required for certain nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications.’’
Mr Bradley explained that this project forms a key component of CHAIN’s Anaerobic Fermentation Technology Platform. The demonstration of chiral-switch technology and novel analysis is leading the company to seek new partnerships in the fields of modelling, protein engineering and downstream processing to help build on the project’s success.
CHAIN would like to thank Innovate UK for supporting this work and also our hosts at Imperial College, SynbiCITE.