SCOTBIO, a fast-growing Scottish biotech business making a natural blue colourant, has officially opened a new production facility in Lockerbie in the south of Scotland and confirmed ambitious plans to expand further.
The new facility, which complements its existing R&D and head office facility at BioCity outside Glasgow and which plays a key role in the business’s scaling up programme, was officially opened by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands yesterday [12 November 2019].
Over the past 4 months, ScotBio has successfully tested its pioneering method for producing its natural food colourant in a 50,000-litre production tank at the Lockerbie facility. Production capacity will increase further over the next 12 months with the addition of several more of the 50,000-litre vessels in operation at the site. The company is also looking at a number of additional sites in Europe, the US and the Far East as part of its long term growth plans.
Polly Van Alstyne, Chief Operating Officer at ScotBio said: “This is a key stage in our stated business plan. A move to a larger facility was essential to allow us to increase production levels significantly and, importantly, to allow us to closely monitor the outcomes in a phased manner. The new facility in Lockerbie provides us with the space to do that and the ability to expand even further.
“Product development and R&D is continuing apace at our headquarters at BioCity and we are speaking with food manufacturers across the world who are keen to know more about the production of our phycocyanin and other functional food ingredients, and our plans for scaling up production levels.”
Tom Craig, Chairman of ScotBio said: “The board and staff are continuing to deliver the milestones set out in the company’s business plan. This latest scale-up phase is essential as we look to build capacity while identifying any challenges that the increase in production may produce. We also have an outstanding team of scientists who are working on additional proprietary IP to bring added value to the business.”
In February 2019, ScotBio appointed two former senior directors of Robert Wiseman Dairies PLC to its board. Martyn Mulcahy and David Dobbins held positions of Group Operations Director and Group Commercial Director and are advising ScotBio on scaling up production and commercialising the company’s products.
The oversubscribed £2m funding round in November 2018 saw investment syndicate Kelvin Capital, Investing Women, Oghma Partners and private investors in the UK, the USA and Ireland joined by Sorbon Investments.
Based in BioCity Glasgow, the biotech incubator located just outside Glasgow, ScotBio has developed a patented, vessel-based process to respond to the worldwide demand for ‘clean labels’ and products free of artificial colours by providing FMCG’s with traceable, natural blue and green colourants.
Natural blues and greens are produced using phycocyanin, also known as spirulina extract, an algae-derived pigment which received international regulatory approval in 2013. Phycocyanin rich algae is traditionally grown in pond systems, which are seasonal and subject to environmental contamination but ScotBio has developed indoor vessel-based systems that are modular and scalable and capable of meeting the demand from global food manufacturers.