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Teesside start-up TeeGene is shortlisted for a global award

01 September 2015

A pioneering start-up, spun out of Teesside University research, has been shortlisted for a prestigious international award.

Dr Pattanathu Rahman.
Dr Pattanathu Rahman.

TeeGene Biotech Ltd, which is based in the Teesside business and science park at the Wilton Centre in Redcar, has been shortlisted alongside companies from the USA, Australia and Nigeria in the Best Business Start-Up category at the IChemE Global Awards 2015.

TeeGene Biotech has developed innovative ways to extract high-value chemicals from algae, plants and microorganisms.

In particular, the company has found ways to develop biosurfactants, which act like soap and help to emulsify different liquids, from strains of bacteria.

The IChemE (Institute of Chemical Engineers) Awards celebrate excellence, innovation and achievement in the chemical, process and biochemical industries.

Dr Pattanathu Rahman, Founding Director of TeeGene Biotech, is a Biotechnology Programme Leader at Teesside University with 20 years of research experience on novel biotechnological approach in bioproduct development, and a recipient of a Society for Applied Biotechnology Award of Excellence in Microbial Biotechnology.

He said: 'Most people consider soap to be an effective means of removing bacteria from their skin.

'However, we have flipped this concept on its head by discovering a way to create soap from bacteria.

'The biosurfactants we create can be manufactured in a lab and are said to be fully biodegradable, with minimal impact on the environment.

'It’s a very exciting technology with tremendous potential for applications in a range of industries.'

Potential uses for the biosurfactants include oil recovery, reducing pollution and food processing.

The biosurfactant market in Europe is already worth £511m and is expected to grow to £1.35bn by 2030 and algal biosurfactants still represent a major untapped and unexplored area of research.

TeeGene Biotech was established in December 2014 to utilise its expertise in bioremediation and waste water treatment and to commercialise biotechnology based on bioreactors and bio-product development.

The nomination for the IChemE Global Award caps a successful few months for the company.

In June, TeeGene Biotech won an innovation grant by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Network as well as support from the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant to test and develop its processes.

In February this year, the start-up was also named as a runner up in the ‘Innovation in Bio-Based Product Development’ category at the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum (IBLF) awards held in London.

The winners of the IChemE Global Awards will be announced at a ceremony on 5 November at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

In the News

Teesside University spin-out researches medical potential of plants polluted by exhaust fumes
My informs, 27/10/2015; ChronicleLive, 27/10/2015: The Newcastle Journal, 28/10/2015; The Northern Echo, 28/10/2015; The Evening Gazette, 28/10/2015; Northern Echo Online, 28/10/2015
TeeGene Biotech launches new project.

Anti-ageing 'soap' sees Teesside firm TeeGene shorted in national awards
The Royal Gazette online, 31.08.2015; The Newcastle Journal, 1.09.2015; Business Quarter, 02.09.2015; World News, 02.09.2015; NOODLS, 02.09.2015
TeeGene shortlised in Best Business start up category of awards. Teesside University's Dr Rahman is mentioned in article,

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