Project: Research council

Project Details


Biologics are complex molecules made by cellular processes and such biological products have major economic and social value for the UK and globally. Biologics encompass a range of molecules of therapeutic (e.g. biopharmaceutical molecules such as insulin and antibodies like Herceptin) and non-therapeutic (e.g. diagnostics, industrial enzymes, drug screening, crystallization / structural studies) use. The UK has been especially innovative in developing processes for commercial scale production (bioprocessing) of therapeutic proteins (biopharmaceuticals) in particular, that have the potential to treat otherwise intractable diseases. The area also directly employs a large work force in the UK and has direct social and economic impacts on the UK. However, the continued development and commercialization of such biologics requires further step-changing innovation if the full potential return to the UK is to be realised. Bioprocessing presents an economic success story and sales of biopharmaceuticals are estimated to be >$320B by 2020. The economic value and ever-increasing importance of these molecules in healthcare adds significantly to healthcare costs and, in the case of biopharmaceuticals in particular, there is pressure to design, develop and manufacture biopharmaceuticals more efficiently, predictably, and affordably. This proposal sets out to develop a vibrant academic-led UK network (BioProNET) of expertise that will bring together academics, industrialists and other interested groups to integrate the expertise of practitioners working on production (bioprocessing) of biologics of therapeutic use as well as those of non-therapeutic use. The Network will focus on biological processes that underpin the development, engineering, manufacturing and monitoring of functionally active biologics to address production of molecules of greater design complexity. The vision and perspectives of multiple scientific disciplines, including life scientists, biochemical engineers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computational scientists, and social scientists will be applied to the research challenges of biological process in the manufacture of biologics, both products of therapeutic use (e.g. biopharmaceuticals) and those of non-therapeutic use (e.g. biosensors, drug development and screening, diagnostics). Within the network we will consider the social, environmental and economic implications of development of the area and whether the sustainability of manufacturing of biologics can be improved. The Network shall maintain the UK bioprocessing sector (by harnessing the breadth of knowledge held in the different communities that will be brought together to develop and extend beyond today's systems into those that will be needed to compete on the world stage over the next 25 years) at the international forefront, whilst establishing step-changing and innovative solutions for the production of the next generation of biologics. By enhancing cost effectiveness of bioprocessing, the sector will move towards more affordable biologics/biopharmaceuticals for sustainable and healthier lifestyles.
Effective start/end date1/04/1531/07/15


  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council