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Science minister opens bi.bio’s new labs as sector gets £2bn ‘Vision’ boost





The expanded laboratories at bit.bio’s Dorothy Hodgkin Building home on Babraham Research Campus were opened by the Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, this week.

The new laboratory space doubles the available footprint on the site as bit.bio continues to expand rapidly: the automation solution will quadruple manufacturing output as the ‘engineering biology’ company grows its ability to discover, develop and manufacture any human cell type with consistency at scale.

The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, at opening of bit.bio's expanded labs on Babraham Research Campus
The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, at opening of bit.bio's expanded labs on Babraham Research Campus

bit.bio’s precision cellular reprogramming technology, opti-ox, is ideally suited for automation because it enables the deterministic manufacture of human cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with unprecedented consistency. The manufacturing automation solution was created in collaboration with Automata, a London-based robotics and automation company.

Before cutting the ribbon to officially open bit.bio’s expanded manufacturing and automation laboratories on Tuesday (December 5), the minister toured bit.bio’s full laboratory facilities for the end-to-end production of any human cell type.

The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, opens bit.bio's expanded labs
The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, opens bit.bio's expanded labs

These facilities range from functional genomics, for the discovery and screening of cell identity, through cell type development, where bit.bio’s opti-ox programmed cells are characterised and initial prototypes generated.

Mr Griffith said: “bit.bio’s work producing human cells for research, drug discovery and cell therapies can transform future healthcare and its expanded facility to scale up their operation is another boost for the UK’s leading engineering biology sector.

“It is also a welcome opportunity to launch the government’s National Vision for Engineering Biology to backing this critical technology with £2billion of investment that can drive more pioneering discoveries – from improving our health to developing sustainable fuels that protect our planet and beyond.”

The Vision for Engineering Biology document published this week (December 5) sets out how investment, policy and regulatory reform will “harness the power of biology to deliver new medical therapies, crop varieties, eco-friendly fuels and chemicals”. Innovations in the cultivated meat industry and waste-to-fuel technology will also benefit from the £2bn investment. Mr Griffith also noted in his introductory comments that “thanks to our research institutions the UK is already one of the leading countries in the world in engineering biology”.

The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, second left, at bit.bio's new automation laboratory
The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, second left, at bit.bio's new automation laboratory

Mark Kotter, bit.bio CEO and founder, said: “We were delighted to welcome minister Griffith to officially open our new manufacturing and automation laboratories.

“It’s an honour to be the company that he visits as the government announces its £2bn vision to support our industry and confirm that engineering biology is a key part of the future growth, and health, of the United Kingdom.

The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, at opening of bit.bio's expanded labs on Babraham Research Campus
The Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith, at opening of bit.bio's expanded labs on Babraham Research Campus

“We are proud to pioneer an engineering approach to biology that enables us to reprogram and manufacture our human cells with unrivalled consistency, functionality and scale.

“Our mission remains to democratise access to human cells. And with our newly-expanded laboratories to support our ambitions, the potential for our technology to revolutionise scientific research, drug discovery and cell therapies is limitless.”



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