Today and tomorrow, on 15th and 16th March, biotechnologists will gather in Glasgow for this year’s Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) Conference. Now in its ninth year, the conference is the largest industrial biotechnology event in the UK. The theme of this year’s event, ‘Resilience and the Bioeconomy’, will explore what resilience means to companies working within the bioeconomy and how the bioeconomy itself can contribute to resilience in industry and society in general.

Designed to provide key insights and advice for companies looking to scale up their operations, the ‘Scale Up to Commercialise’ session on day two of the event will be chaired by Dr Johann Partridge, Operations Director at Edinburgh-based biotechnology company, MiAlgae. 

Having worked actively in the biotechnology sector for over two decades, Dr Partridge brings a wealth of sector knowledge and valuable experience in scaling up businesses successfully.

Championing a greener economy, MiAlgae’s novel biotechnology platform uses co-products from the whisky distillation process to produce microalgae, which is high in omega 3 and other nutrients. The microalgae can be used to sustainably feed fish and create animal food. The company was launched as a start-up in 2016, and has since then evolved into a leading player in Scotland’s industry. 

Prior to MiAlgae, Dr Partridge held senior positions at IBioIC for over four years and was responsible for driving relationships with academia, industry and funding bodies. She also led the Innovation Centre’s £2.5m scale-up centre programmes and industry projects to help encourage more innovation across the sector. 

Supporting IBioIC’s aim to bring biotechnology products and processes to the global market, and having first-hand experience of growing a commercial company, Dr Partridge hopes to help others create their own path to success. She said: 

“The aim is to grow Scotland’s bioeconomy  to £900 million by 2025. Scaling up effectively will be pivotal in achieving this. 

“To help support this, I’m looking forward to chairing this year’s ‘Scale Up to Commercialise’ session, alongside speakers from IBioIC, ENOUGH, Celtic Renewables, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant and RISE Processum. During this session, we’ll explore the journey of developing an industry-ready bio-based process. We will highlight some of the pitfalls and opportunities that businesses may face along the way as they grow from a small scale concept to reach commercial production. By sharing our experiences and learning, I hope that we can help to encourage those keen to scale up and support the growth of the sector.”