Leicester, UK: Meat counters set to look and feel very different as research gets underway
UK pharmaceutical manufacturer, Pepceuticals Limited, has been awarded a European research contract to develop an edible coating for fresh meat which will increase the shelf-life of the product and ultimately reduce the need for oil-based plastic packaging. Leicester-based Pepceuticals is the only UK partner in this European research collaboration worth 1.6 million Euro which is set to run for 18 months. The aim of the EU-funded project is to create a safe, biologically-active film which doesn’t affect the fresh meat and will replace the familiar plastic vacuum packs.
According to research by WRAP (June 2011)¹, UK consumers spend more money on meat than any other food item, and households are wasting around 570,000 tonnes of fresh meat each year, of which 260,000 (46%) is avoidable with a value of about £1,300M. The potential to apply an antimicrobial film in the processing factory should significantly prevent the deterioration of the fresh meat product, and save waste. It will revolutionise the look and feel of the traditional meat counter.
The same WRAP research reports that around 110,000 tonnes of packaging waste is produced, of which 81,000 tonnes (73%) are land filled. The majority of this material is cardboard and plastic that is mildly contaminated with blood following contact with meat. The need to improve the disposal of this material is a widely recognised issue so, if successful, this research project could provide a sustainable solution to the problem.
Pepceuticals Managing Director, Dr Kamal Badiani, says: “We are absolutely delighted to have been selected as the UK partner for this work. We have all the regulatory requirements to undertake the research, and can draw on highly-skilled scientists with the know-how to create an innovative new product. Antimicrobial peptides are widely used in the healthcare sector for tackling infection, so it is a natural progression to apply the same chemistry to food preservation.”
Pepceuticals Ltd, the UK’s leading manufacturer of peptides, was selected from a competitive tender process organised by business support organisation PERA, and now holds the license to sell the resulting meat-coat product across the UK. This is a significant development for the business and for the UK meat processing industry.
To accommodate further expansion, Pepceuticals has already appointed two new staff members; a further Senior Formulation Chemist and a Product Development and Commercialisation manager. This takes fulltime staff members in this high-tech, highly automated company to eight. With year on year growth of 20%, Pepceuticals is now the largest peptide cGMP manufacturer in mainland UK and is the Research Council UK (RCUK) preferred supplier of peptides and antibodies.
The announcement of the contract win for this small pharmaceutical company comes in Budget week when firms such as Pepceuticals hope to see further fiscal incentives for innovation and growth. The Government has stated its support for the life science sector, in particular for innovative, growing firms like Pepceuticals. The East Midlands is a hot-spot for such firms and home to some of the UK’s leading research Universities.
Reference ¹: WRAP June 2011 Resource Maps for Fresh Meat across Retail and Wholesale Supply Chains
Dr Badiani is available for interview.
Louise Third – Integra Communications Limited
Tel: 0115 912 4350 / 07773 288342
About Pepceuticals Limited
Pepceuticals Limited is a manufacturer of synthetic peptides, is dedicated to supplying the Life Science industry with a high quality custom peptide and antibody service. In addition, it is able to offer an extensive range of catalogue peptides and a wide range of reagents used for the synthesis of peptides.
Pepceuticals Limited was formed in Newarke Street, Leicester in 1998 by Dr Kamal Badiani. Dr Badiani, who has a doctorate in medicinal chemistry, moved the company to Beaumont Leys (using a laboratory in New Orleans) before relocating to a 2,000 sq ft property in BioCity Nottingham in 2004
Due to continued expansion, Pepceuticals moved into the new site in Enderby in December 2010.
The 10,000 sq ft industrial unit has been equipped with eight large and medium sized, high-tech cGMP laboratories, enabling Pepceuticals to offer a versatile service to support research and in-process projects; from pre-clinical toxicology studies through to early stage clinical trials and eventually to full manufacturing capacity of approved APIs for larger clinical trials. The facilities at the Leicestershire base are continuing to be enhanced and have recently included the installation of a Quatro Premier Xe Mass Spectrometer, a Synapt G1 High Definition Mass Spectrometer, 2 Symphony® 12-channel peptide synthesisers and an Overture™ Robotic Peptide Library Synthesizer.
Pepceuticals recently won a five-year contract worth £400,000-500,000 a year with the Research Councils of the UK, which encompasses organisations including the Medical Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
4 Fieldspar Close
Leicestershire LE19 4JS
Tel: +44 (0)116 284 9301
Fax: +44 (0)116 286 2464