NPL and Imperial College London have unveiled a new £7 million virtual lab to help the UK’s synthetic biology industry enhance the manufacturing and adoption of new drugs, therapies and other products.

The new lab, part of £17 million of new government funding recently announced by The Chancellor, will develop and provide reference materials and methods to improve the reproducibility of research results that will help convert innovation in synthetic biology into valuable products and services.

The labs is a collaboration between institutes undertaking research in biological measurements: NPL, LGC, the UK’s National Measurement Laboratory for chemical and bio-measurement, NIBSC, and Imperial College London’s SynbiCITE, the UK’s National Industrial Translation Centre dedicated to the commercialisation of synthetic biology.

“A key point in the government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, launched in August, is the need for the development and quick adoption of innovative drugs and therapies. Synthetic biology offers great opportunities here but requires underpinning measurement to ensure that new products are realised and can be commercialised more quickly,” said Dr Michael Adeogun, Head of Life Sciences and Health at NPL.

“Synthetic Biology/Engineering Biology has, since 2013, been recognised by the Government as a key area for economic growth – for example as an important driver of the bioeconomy. We view the development of new metrology and standards for the field as being essential for effective industrial translation – through accurate reproducibility, coupled to high levels of reliability,” added The partnership with NPL (including LGC and NIBSC) is seen as being an essential step in this process.”