Innovate UK funding links North East biotech companies to create innovative tools for the manufacture of novel foods

MarraBio and Aelius Biotech to partner with CPI to produce food grade materials that enhance the production of lab grown meat.

Newcastle, 19th December 2023: Three North East based organisations will be joining forces as a result of a successful Innovate UK grant application focused on supporting technologies for “Novel Low-Emission Food Production Systems”. The grant will focus on the engineered protein materials produced by MarraBio Ltd., a recent spin out from Newcastle University. These proteins are being developed to replace the expensive reagents currently used in the large scale production of cells for cultivated meat.

In order to use these materials for food production, the manufacturing process must be modified to meet food regulations. To do this, the Technology Innovation Catalyst (CPI), based at sites around the North East, will provide their knowledge of bioprocessing systems and food regulations. The materials must also shown to be safe when digested, and this will be tested by another Newcastle University spinout company, Aelius Biotech, who have developed a patented lab model of the human gut system. 

Dr. Daniel Peters, CEO at MarraBio said: “We’re really excited to work with CPI and Aelius Biotech on this project. Their expertise will help us take our engineered protein technology to the next level, where it will make a big difference to companies who are making novel, low-emission foods.”

Dr. Peter Chater, CEO at Aelius Biotech, said: “Lab grown meat has huge potential as an alternative source of protein in our diets, and it’s great to be working with the team at Marrabio and CPI on one of the technologies that can make this a reality.”

Brendan Fish, Biologics Director at CPI said: “We are delighted to be working with MarraBio and Aelius Biotech on this exciting project. It’s another step towards establishing the North East as the UK’s hub for greener food production systems. Food production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Ensuring a sustainable food industry that is fit for the future is a challenge we know we must act on now if we are going to reach our ambition of becoming “Net Zero”.  It’s fantastic to see the North East stepping up and meeting that challenge head on.”