Winner of the Emerging Technologies Competition 2013
Case study: November 2015
Enzyme catalysis has the capability to make chemical synthesis cleaner, more energy-efficient and generate less waste.
However, enzymes do not work in isolation; they often require extremely expensive cofactors such as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+/ NADH).
HydRegen – a technology developed by Professor Kylie Vincent at the University of Oxford – uses enzymes mounted on carbon beads, along with hydrogen gas, to recycle the expensive NADH cofactor. This clean and efficient way of recycling NADH has the potential to overcome the major cost barrier to using enzyme catalysts in synthesis.
When Kylie’s research group entered the Emerging Technologies Competition, their HydRegen technology had been proven to work on a small scale in the laboratory but they needed expertise to take their idea to the next level.
Kylie and her team have benefited from on-going support from their competition mentor, GSK.
The pharmaceutical giant have helped to clarify market opportunities for HydRegen and provided the team with thousands of pounds worth of enzymes and chemicals. They have also helped to raise the profile of HydRegen by introducing the group to other key businesses and inviting Kylie to speak at a number of GSK events.
The link to GSK has been hugely important in allowing us to develop the technology in industrially relevant directions and to demonstrate that the technology is broadly applicable and of industrial interest.
GSK recently joined Kylie’s advisory group for a major Innovate UK/EPRSC IB Catalyst Scheme funding bid. Their presence helped to convince other industrial representatives to join the advisory group and she successfully secured over £2.9m of translation funding to take HydRegen towards commercialisation.
Without the support from GSK, we may not have been successful in the funding bid…being able to cite the Emerging Technologies Competition prize was also hugely important in proving our credentials.
Winning the Emerging Technologies Competition has helped Kylie to raise her own profile; she was recently selected as one of the eight Future Leaders in science by the New York Academy of Science and Japanese Society for Promotion of Science. She has also been named as a Rising Star in the Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness 2015 report.
I think that having the Emerging Tech prize on my CV has helped with successful nominations for other recognition.
What's next for HydRegen
Securing the major IB Catalyst funding means Kylie has been able to employ a project manager to oversee a five-year project to develop the HydRegen technology. They plan to hire a number of specialist researchers to carry out the R&D necessary to demonstrate scalability, broad applicability and lifetime of the technology, ready to take HydRegen to market.
HydRegen... two years on
Over £2.9m from EPSRC / Innovate UK to take HydRegen towards market.
GSK have supported the group in major funding bids and provided on-going business advice.