Ingenza has been at the forefront of the biotechnology sector for nearly two decades, providing the building blocks for products as diverse as COVID vaccines, biofuels and novel plastics.
These achievements were acknowledged when at the end of 2020 its founder and Managing Director Dr Ian Fotheringham received an MBE for his services to the industrial biotechnology industry.
Jaymin Amin, Chief Operating Officer at Ingenza, shares its story with Kreston Reeves.
Ingenza was established in early 2003 with just four members of staff working out of a corner of a laboratory at the University of Edinburgh. Today, the business employes some 40 people and holds a unique position in the biotechnology space, offering specialist fermentation, molecular biology and chemistry services.
“Ingenza has a strong reputation in the market for developing proprietary enabling technologies,” explains Jaymin Amin, Chief Operating Officer at Ingenza. “These are used across a wide range of industries, from biofuels, plastics, food, agrochemical and biopharmaceuticals.
“Whilst many biotech companies will have molecular biology and fermentation arms to their business, very few integrate synthetic chemistry with biosciences. Prospective clients in speciality or bulk chemical manufacturing, or even consumer product sectors, often have little understanding of biotechnology but possess great depth of expertise in chemistry, chemical engineering and the market competitiveness of their products.”
Ingenza’s chemists provide an ideal interface for client scientists and engineers to define their vision of the opportunity for bio-manufacturing to enhance business competitiveness, through superior cost-of-goods, new products and/or enhanced product functionalities.
“Critical operational needs of scale-up, energy and resource efficiency and alignment with existing manufacturing infrastructure are all considered,” explains Jaymin, “with the resulting outputs providing a framework for our chemists, biochemists and molecular biologists to deliver viable bioprocesses that fit the client’s commercial-scale requirements.
“It is this multi-disciplinary expertise and the inherent strong relationships that keep our customers returning to and recommending Ingenza.”
The company’s “technology development and licensing” model has, unlike many biotechnology businesses, given Ingenza revenue from day one, allowing it to build and grow a successful and globally respected business.
“Growth has been entirely organic and funded through revenue,” says Jaymin. “Government grants available to all biotechnology businesses have also been enormously helpful in developing our technology platforms, and I would urge all small biotech businesses to explore and use all the grants and funding available to them.”
Today, Ingenza sees its future increasingly in the biopharmaceutical space, partnering with nascent businesses who have discovered exciting biomedical targets, such as new protein therapeutics, but lack the revenue or expertise to further develop their manufacture and testing. Ingenza has also partnered with Oxford University and the UK Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) on a ground-breaking protein subunit vaccine to meet ongoing COVID-19 and other deadly viral threats.
“Our vaccine has unique properties, making it more rapid and cheaper to manufacture using engineered microbes that are readily adaptable to emerging viral variants and highly stable for storage and transportation. Its structure also permits a single vaccine to target multiple viruses or viral variants” says Jaymin.
“It is particularly well-suited to emerging countries that will struggle to afford the current vaccines or lack strong infrastructure for their distribution.”
Results from pre-clinical testing to date is extremely positive and the partnership is now seeking funding to advance to clinical studies.
The company is also developing in a collaboration with ProFactorPharma a biopharmaceutical to more effectively treat Haemophilia A, produced at a highly competitive cost using a proprietary high-performing cell-line and novel biomanufacturing process. It is soon to embark on a £30m Series A fund-raising round.
It is there, says Jaymin, that many home-grown biotechnology businesses struggle.
“The UK is home to great science and terrific innovators that attract early-stage funding. But the appetite is not always there when businesses look for more substantial or pre-IPO funding, meaning they are often acquired by US-based investors or companies with the commercial benefits being lost to the UK economy.
“I feel the UK is more risk-averse and that is a problem not easily resolved. The government and Angel/Seed funders are generally excellent in supporting younger and start-up businesses, but we need to address ways to incentivise risk-taking for growing businesses or face losing them.”
Ingenza has a long relationship with Kreston Reeves and Partner James Peach.
“Kreston Reeves has always made us feel like we are a highly valued client to them,” says Jaymin. “James and his team are excellent at meeting our unique needs and building strong relationships.
“It is important for our accountants to understand our business and they excel in that. Kreston Reeves has been instrumental in leading us through the R&D Tax Credit and Patent Box regimes.”
This year Kreston Reeves is celebrating 200 years of history. We are using the significant milestone as an opportunity to celebrate our clients, our colleagues, and our communities! Find out more.
"Kreston Reeves has always made us feel like we are a highly valued client to them. James and his team are excellent at meeting our unique needs and building strong relationships. It is important for our accountants to understand our business and they excel in that. Kreston Reeves has been instrumental in leading us through the R&D Tax Credit and Patent Box regimes."
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