Innovation news in brief: Cleanrooms; battery technology; farming; Indian electronics

Oxford Biomedica's new cleanroom production facility

WHP completes pioneering biomanufacturing facility

Cleanroom construction company WH Partnership has completed Oxford Biomedica’s new cleanroom production facility in Yarnton, Oxford, which manufactures unique gene-based medicines for some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

Constructed to comply with stringent UK Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, the 6,000 sq ft additional cleanroom space took less than a year from concept to completion and creates extra capacity for existing and potential customers.

The facility has just been approved by the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to manufacture bulk drug material for Investigational Medicinal Products.

WHP’s managing director, Nigel Hall, said: “We have gained a strong reputation for our cleanroom design and construction in the biotechnology industry and the number and quality of projects that we have in the pipeline continue to grow. We are delighted to have brought our wealth of expertise in stringently-regulated sectors to OXB’s facility and look forward to supporting them in any future expansion plans.”

NISP takes over Ecos Centre

The Northern Ireland Science Park is to open its third base as it takes over the former Ecos Centre in Ballymena, reports The Irish News.

The £1.6 million expansion of the start-up incubator will breathe life into the former visitor centre which had opened amid fanfare in 2000 before quickly falling out of favour.

The science park already has campuses in Belfast and Derry and provides space for businesses with a particular focus on the knowledge economy.

The move will provide a boost to Ballymena which has sustained a series of high-profile job losses at JTI and Michelin.

Dukosi expand at Edinburgh Technopole

A company involved in the development of new battery technology for electric vehicles and renewable energy applications has announced plans for expansion in 2016 after it received £1.2 million of equity funding.

Based at Edinburgh Technopole in Midlothian, Dukosi will be hiring four new members of staff, which will allow the company to develop their Evoic intelligent battery management more rapidly.

With further additional expansion planned in the near future, Dukosi are also looking to increase their accommodation space at the Midlothian science park to foster further growth.

Judith Sanderson, Edinburgh Technopole ark manager, said: “Edinburgh Technopole is renowned for providing flexible and inspiring work space for dynamic and pioneering companies. The science park boasts a broad range of clients and supports a culture of innovation within a natural setting. It is great to see our clients grow their business at Edinburgh Technopole and continue to bring long-term, high-value employment to the area.”

Gordon Povey, CEO at Dukosi, said: “This is an exciting time for Dukosi and we were delighted to have been awarded funding to allow us to expand and accelerate our technical developments. Edinburgh Technopole is the ideal setting for us to continue the development of our pioneering Evoic technology and we very much look forward to growing our business.”

Norfolk’s a “hotbed” for farming innovation

Farming Minister George Eustice has described Norfolk as a “hotbed of farming innovation that is leading the way in revolutionising British agriculture”.

Speaking at the recent Norfolk Farming Conference at the John Innes Centre, Eustice highlighted the efforts of the Norfolk farming industry, which plays host to some of the UK’s leading agricultural innovators.

Hubs of innovation throughout the region are driving forward practical uses of technology to benefit agriculture and bring fresh thinking to how we grow food. These include the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research, The Sainsbury’s Laboratory and the University of East Anglia.

Eustice added: “Norfolk is leading the way in developing and using exciting, new technologies in farming, from growing new types of animal feed to using data to ensure the healthiest soils for crops.

“We want to see our agriculture sector grow, become more competitive and more profitable, taking innovations from the laboratory to the farm.”

India market spurs electronic innovation for Samsung

The unique challenges and needs of the Indian market are helping Samsung Electronics to spur innovation and create new products in the country, reports The Hindu.

Samsung, the world’s biggest consumer electronics company, is finding demand for these products not only in India but other countries as well with similar needs.

Convertible refrigerators, washing machines with built-in sink and jet to wash tough stains and microwaves that can prepare rotis and naans were some of these innovations on display at the recent Samsung Southwest Asia Forum 2016 event in Kuala Lumpur.

Smartwatches calibrated to track the calories of users after eating Indian food and smart televisions that allow consumers to browse websites as well as watch favourite shows, were other gadgets with India-specific features.

MRC’s £650,000 funding boost supports Cardiff innovation

Cardiff University has secured £650,000 in funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to support the University’s innovation agenda.

The funding has been received from two MRC initiatives, the Confidence in Concept Scheme and the Proximity to Discovery: Industry Engagement Fund.

Prof Ian Weeks, associate dean for clinical innovation in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding in support of our innovation agenda. It is absolutely vital that our research translates into new therapies, diagnostics and medical devices for the benefit of patients.

“This funding from the Medical Research Council will help us to link with colleagues in the NHS and industry to accelerate this transition,” he added.

The latest awards contribute to a total of £1.3 million received by the University from these funds during the last three years.