Nuclera Awarded £1.14M Innovate UK Funding for Development of eProtein Discovery

£790k FASST grant, in collaboration with DeepMirror, and £350k Engineering Biology grant awarded for platform development

Cambridge, UK — Nuclera, the biotechnology company accelerating protein expression and purification workflows through its benchtop eProtein Discovery™ system, today announced it has been awarded two highly competitive Innovate UK grants totaling £1.14M. The funding, made up of a £790k flexible, agile, scalable, and sustainable technologies (FASST) grant awarded in collaboration with DeepMirror, and a £350k Engineering Biology grant, to further develop the platform, including evaluations by Dr Konstantinos Beis, an independent expert from Imperial College London, and Dr Andrew Quigley from Diamond Light Source.

The FASST grant is part of the Innovate UK Transforming Medicines Manufacturing (TMM) program and has been designed to support and grow the UK’s capabilities in manufacturing medicines by developing first-of-a-kind technologies to accelerate patient access to new drugs and treatments.

Nuclera is one of 48 companies to be awarded the Engineering Biology grant, which aims to use engineering biology to tackle challenges in the fields of health, environment, food production and sustainability. The funding is provided by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Technology Missions Fund and delivered by Innovate UK.

Dr Michael Chen, CEO and co-founder, Nuclera, said: “Receiving both grants from Innovate UK is testament to the power of eProtein Discovery and demonstrates that Nuclera has the technical innovation to address global unmet challenges in the fields of manufacturing and engineering biology. We look forward to working with DeepMirror, Dr Beis (via Imperial Consultants), and Dr Quigley from Diamond Light Source on both projects.”

Custom protein reagents, required in drug discovery, are challenging to manufacture both in terms of cost and time associated. The eProtein Discovery platform overcomes this unmet need by providing rapid access to challenging proteins in a benchtop system in less than 48 hours. Accelerating drug discovery processes by up to 30x, the platform provides sequences and optimal conditions to inform protein manufacturing.

Dr Andrew Quigley, group leader of Diamond’s Membrane Protein Lab (MPL), added: “Nuclera’s proposed platform aims to assess the most suitable conditions to obtain functional protein, and the MPL is well positioned to assist in this development with over 30 different membrane protein controls available.”

 About Nuclera

Nuclera’s mission is to better human health by enabling scientists to easily access the proteins they need for drug discovery research. The Company’s eProtein Discovery™ benchtop system accelerates protein expression and purification workflows within research labs.

The platform reduces the timelines and costs associated with protein expression and purification through automated construct screening to inform protein scale-up resulting in mg amounts in less than 48 hours. Integrating digital microfluidics, protein quality assays, and cell-free protein synthesis on smart cartridges, eProtein Discovery enables rapid access to even challenging proteins at high quality.

Founded in 2013, Nuclera’s offices are located in Cambridge (UK) and Boston (US).

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About Innovate UK

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is the UK’s innovation agency. It works to create a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations. Its mission is to help companies to grow through their development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit  

About Diamond Light Source

Diamond Light Source provides industrial and academic user communities with access to state-of-the-art analytical tools to enable world-changing science. Shaped like a huge ring, it works like a giant microscope, accelerating electrons to near light speeds, to produce a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun, which is then directed off into 34 laboratories known as ‘beamlines’. In addition to these, Diamond offers access to several integrated laboratories including the world-class Electron Bio-imaging Centre (eBIC) and the Electron Physical Science Imaging Centre (ePSIC).    

Diamond serves as an agent of change, addressing 21st century challenges such as disease, clean energy, food security and more. Since operations started, more than 16,000 researchers from both academia and industry have used Diamond to conduct experiments, with the support of approximately 760 world-class staff. Almost 12,000 scientific articles have been published by our users and scientists.    

The Membrane Protein Lab (MPL) at Diamond is a research and training facility for scientists interested in solving the 3D structures of membrane proteins. Based within the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) adjacent to Diamond Light Source the MPL is uniquely located and well equipped to deal with these challenging proteins. The facility is open to applications from laboratories anywhere in the world.

Funded by the UK Government through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and by the Wellcome Trust, Diamond is one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world, and its pioneering capabilities are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific research.    

Diamond was set-up as an independent not for profit company through a joint venture, between the UKRI’s Science and Technology Facilities Council and one of the world’s largest biomedical charities, the Wellcome Trust – each respectively owning 86% and 14% of the shareholding.  

About Imperial College London

Imperial is a world–leading university for science, technology, engineering, medicine and business (STEMB). It has an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research which places it consistently rated in the top ten universities worldwide.

About DeepMirror

DeepMirror is on a mission to make AI powered drug design as simple as spreadsheets and empower every biopharma team to find better drugs faster. Ultimately, powering the century of biology and elevating health for all. AI can now accelerate preclinical drug discovery by 2x. But less than 10% of all biopharma teams have adopted AI due to limitations in skills and trust. DeepMirror’s software helps teams deploy AI within minutes and can be used by everyone, empowering companies in their journey from discovery to clinic in a seamless user experience. Founded in 2019, DeepMirror is now used by academic institutions, biotech, and pharma businesses across the globe.

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