University of Nottingham
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Iwan Roberts | Puridify

Single-use nanofibre purification

The global fight against disease requires far greater efficiency in biomolecule manufacturing. Puridify is developing safe and cost-effective bioprocessing platforms using nanofibres to improve current purification technologies and meet market demand for cheaper biotherapeutics.

Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Iwan Roberts learnt about translating bioscience discoveries during his four-year MEng degree in biochemical engineering at UCL. He then pursued an MRes before starting his EngD and took advantage of opportunities on offer including Biotechnology YES.

Iwan Roberts PuridifyHQ
“Lots of world-renowned academics and entrepreneurs devote their time for free. It’s only fair to pay this forward.”
 
 

Applying bioscience discoveries

Iwan won academic prizes, but graduate employment prospects in 2008 were grim due to the recession. He stayed on and as a postgraduate was able to take modules in New Venture Development and Managing the Growing Business at London Business School, thanks to an arrangement it had with UCL.

Other experience included a three-month Fellowship in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and four months as an intern with IMS Consultancy Group working on a novel drug launch for a pharmaceuticals company.

All this experience would help prepare Iwan to start Puridify with a fellow UCL EngD researcher in 2013.

YES consolidated knowledge

Biotechnology YES in 2012 condensed and applied what he’d learned. Iwan’s team won the Manchester heat and went to the Final. “It was good to make new connections,” he says. “Some judges’ faces came up again when we went for funding.”

Puridify was spun out in 2013, backed by UCL and an Innovate UK Proof of Concept Bid to Smart Award. They won the SR One funded OneStart Competition in 2014 – £100,000 plus lab space in the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, backed by BIS, GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust and Innovate UK – and, in 2015, gained an EPSRC and BBSRC Innovate UK Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst Project award.

Top impacts

Innovation
Dr Inga Deakin, Associate, Healthcare Ventures, at Imperial Innovations, recently said: “Puridify is well on the way to demonstrating the potential for its nanofibre technology to make a significant impact in biologics manufacturing.”

Funding and investment
£2.2 million of Series A follow-on investment by existing investors Imperial Innovations, SR One and UCL Business in October 2015 brings the total raised so far, including grant funding, to £8 million.

Job creation
The number of Puridify staff has tripled in size in the past year.

More info

Visit Puridify

 

Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

  • Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Nottingham University Business School
  • Jubilee Campus
  • Nottingham, NG8 1BB