• Virtual Lab to Establish UK Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards

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Virtual Lab to Establish UK Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards

Jan 24 2018

A new £7 million virtual lab announced by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and SynbiCITE at Imperial College London (ICL) has been established to underpin their joint Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards to help the UK synthetic biology industry improve the manufacturing and adoption of new products. The initiative also includes a partnership with LGC and NIBSC which will be providing specialist expertise in biological standardisation in the form of genomic and bioactivity measurements, respectively.

The scheme is part of £17 million of new government funding announced by The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in the autumn budget to help translate the UK's scientific expertise into real life treatments and will focus on accelerating the application of synthetic biology in life sciences.

Dr Michael Adeogun, Head of Life Sciences and Health at NPL, said: "A key point in the Government's Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, launched in August, is the need for the development and quick adoption of innovative drugs and therapies. Synthetic biology offers great opportunities here but requires underpinning measurement to ensure that new products are realised and can be commercialised more quickly.

“ NPL is delighted to announce the first phase of establishing the UK Centre for Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards, to achieve this."

Professor Paul Freemont and Professor Richard Kitney, Co-Directors of SynbiCITE at Imperial College, said: "The new centre is part of a wider collaboration with NPL, LGC and NIBSC in Engineering Biology, Metrology and Standards. Synthetic Biology/Engineering Biology has, since 2013, been recognised by the Government as a key area for economic growth – for example as an important driver of the bioeconomy. We view the development of new metrology and standards for the field as being essential for effective industrial translation – through accurate reproducibility, coupled to high levels of reliability.”

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