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FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies

Project contact
Dr Lorraine Kerr
Director of Strategic Partnerships North America

A strategic partnership led by FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies (FDB) and the University of Edinburgh was announced in 2019 to address challenges in bioprocessing and the manufacture of biological drugs (biologics) through a wide-ranging programme of innovative research and training.

Currently around 20% of all medicines are biologics and this share is growing. The market was valued at $251 billion in 2018 and is predicted to reach $749 billion in 2028. Biologics have transformed the treatment of life-limiting diseases including cancer, haemophilia and rheumatoid arthritis.

The University of Edinburgh’s partnership with FDB, the universities of York and Manchester and Scotland’s Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), called the Centre for Excellence in Bioprocessing 2.0, will accelerate the development of biologics, ultimately making treatments and vaccines used by many millions of people easier and more cost-effective to manufacture.

Vital investment

The partnership has leveraged significant FDB investment to form a multi-disciplinary core of over 100 people engaged in an expanding programme of work that is of mutual benefit and considerable strategic value. For example, the team has recently secured funding for an £8.7 million Prosperity Partnership project co-funded by FDB, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to understand the underlying biology of the cell lines that produce biologics and develop new technology to meet future demands of biologics production.

Professor Susan Rosser
The award of this grant unlocks the power of new technologies we have developed and applies them to this key industry challenge. The aim is to better understand and improve one of the key cell-based manufacturing platforms of biopharmaceuticals. Ultimately it will mean that treatments used by many millions of people worldwide will be easier and cheaper to manufacture”
Susan Rosser, Professor of Synthetic Biology, University of Edinburgh, and Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies

Growing together

Operating in a rapidly expanding market, FDB has ambitious plans to grow and is creating a new Biocampus at its Billingham site in the north-east of England. The University of Edinburgh has a key role in realising these ambitions: the partnership’s collaborative research is ensuring the company remains at the forefront of innovation; enables access to world-leading research expertise; and provides new development opportunities for FDB staff. The University also provides access to a rich talent pipeline for a growing business in a highly competitive sector.

We are delighted with the partnership we have with the University of Edinburgh and it is aligned with our core purpose to advance tomorrow’s medicines. We are a supporter of great science in the United Kingdom. This is an exciting project that will allow us to understand, model and ultimately design CHO cells to be more efficient."
Andy Topping, Chief Scientific Officer at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies UK.

We are extremely proud to be supporting this innovative partnership that has so much potential to transform lives. The CEB aims to accelerate the development of biologics, making them more cost effective to produce and therefore accessible to all. ”
Lorraine Kerr, Director of Strategic Partnerships North America, at Edinburgh Innovations.
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