January Newsletter

A Reflection on 2020

As we enter into a New Year, albeit under another UK-wide lockdown, we have taken some time to reflect on our progress over the past 12 months and identify what really matters to our growing customer base going into 2021. In doing so we realise we have much to celebrate and look forward to!

Over the past year we have taken leaps and strides forward with our peptide technology and expanded our user base to a global level, both of which are extremely exciting. Of particular note was the launch of our two new product lines; PeptiSols® and PeptiInks®. PeptiSols® allow our users to tailor the mechanical properties of their 3D PeptiGel® scaffolds which is important when identifying the effect of hydrogel mechanical strength on cell behaviour. PeptiInks® are based on our core PeptiGel® product, and are specifically formulated to enable users to bioprint a range of 3D culture systems and human tissue models, thus generating models in a reproducible way with improved physiological relevance.

We were also excited to win two Innovate UK grants in 2020. The first was a Knowledge Transfer Partnership working with Dr Armando del Rio Hernandez, Imperial College London, where we will be capitilising on our ability to tailor our peptide hydrogel properties to mimic the mechanical and chemical environment of both healthy and cancer tissue. We will explore independently the influence of each on cell activation, survival and growth and investigate mechanotransduction on signalling pathways. The second is to establish a new collaboration with biotechnology companies Qkine and Cellesce to develop fully synthetic animal-free scaffolds that overcome barriers in sustainable and scalable organoid culture. All such activity was enabled by MBG closing an investment round with contributions received from three partners; Deepbridge Capital, KERO and greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Science Fund. This has enabled growth of our team, bringing marketing, sales and cell culture specialists on board, as well as expanding the company scientific expertise.

Moving forward we are excited to expand our activities and user base even further. The scene has been set internally as we have quadrupled the footprint of our lab and office facilities at Alderley Park, Cheshire. Go check it out and find out more about how our peptide hydrogel products can help you save time in your research and enable to you gain reproducible, reliable and clinically translatable research data.

Finally, our new larger team is now widening the company’s remit – offering Manchester BIOGEL’s unique hydrogels to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and drug discovery industries, in addition to academic users. Get in touch at info@manchesterbiogel.com to find out how we can help you.

Our Scientific Journey Over the Past Year

The Manchester BIOGEL team are very excited to hit the ground running in 2021 to further advance our highly innovative technology. Despite the challenges that 2020 presented, we were still able to finish the year with some key scientific accomplishments, the key ones are shown in the figure below. The launch of PeptiSols, PeptiInks®, Functional kits, and Mechanokits led to the generation of more case studies and publications to showcase the strengths in the use of PeptiGels® and PeptiInks® for scientific discoveries and advancement. Some examples include the use of normal and functionalised gels to develop tumour models and organoids technologies. We were also able to expand our collaborations with several academic institutions and industries to support future-proof scientific discoveries.

We invested heavily in R&D in 2020, appointing 3 new PhD students and 1 KTP fellow, resulting in us now having 11 active PhD studentships. Collectively, these students will be actively investing the role of our synthetic gels in the field of organoid technology, regenerative medicine, oncology, stem cells, tissue engineering, 3D bioprinting and drug delivery. We have seen a great start and progression to these projects. For example, in the field of cancer studies, one of our case-award PhD students, Eliana has been able to mimic breast tumourmicroenvironment with the use of functionalised gels. Phenotyping the breast cancer cells grown in the gels expressed more tissue-specific markers giving a better reproducible and representative data.

With the rise in the adoption of organoid technology, Niall, another PhD student has been developing the application of PeptiGels® within this eld and has been able to show the generation of kidney organoids using patients-derived iPSCs cells. Other mounting data from the other students are showing widening applications of our products. We hope to showcase more of this in 2021.

To give you an insight into 2021, we have a lot of very big plans! Watch this space for more technological advances and product launches, especially if you work with organoids. We plan to work closely with all of our collaborators across the globe, to obtain more data to help our customers achieve their scientific goals, as well as to drive the 3D cell culture market towards more ethical and reproducible research.If you would like to find out more about our products, case studies, on-going collaborative projects or would like to find out more about how our company can support your study, please contact us at info@manchesterbiogel.com.

Get in touch

For more information about our technology, our products or how we can support your research please get in touch: