Next-generation yeast: Renaissance BioScience partners with Mitacs


17 Apr 2018 --- Leading global yeast technology company, Renaissance BioScience Corporation, has announced a Cdn$1.44 million multi-year research and development project with Mitacs, a national not-for-profit research and training organization. Mitacs will provide matching funding to the RBSC project to support the development of next-generation, systematic tools and methods for expanding, screening and selecting biodiversity in non-GMO industrial yeast strains.

In addition to the work done directly by RBSC, the project will be facilitated by collaboration with: University of British Columbia (UBC) researchers in the fields of yeast genetics and biochemistry: Dr. Corey Nislow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Dr. Thibault Mayor of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and Dr. Chris Loewen of the Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences. Over the four-year duration of the project, it is expected that up to 20 post-doctoral and graduate research scientist positions (equivalent to an estimated eight full-time employees) will be created in RBSC and at UBC to conduct this leading-edge research. Recruitment for these research positions is ongoing.

“We are pleased to have Mitacs’ support as a funding partner in the development of tools for our next-generation non-GMO yeast platform,” said Dr. Matthew Dahabieh, RBSC’s Chief Science Officer. “Mitacs’ commitment combined with UBC’s world-leading research capabilities will allow us to accelerate our strain development technology capabilities, and deliver innovative next-generation yeast technology, products and services to the marketplace.”

Alejandro Adem, Mitacs’ CEO and Scientific Director, concurred, saying, “We’re proud to partner with Renaissance BioScience Corp. to support the development of their next-generation non-GMO yeast platform, while also providing UBC researchers with the knowledge and skills they will need to successfully transition to the job market.”

Speaking from the academic perspective, Dr. Corey Nislow of UBC commented, “Having spent a decade in biotech and two decades as an academic researcher, I am incredibly excited to be part of this project which blends basic research with real-world applications. The combination of next-generation genomics, automation and bioinformatics provide our scientists at UBC with a chance to explore the full range of career opportunities. Yeast was the first domesticated microbe and the work of Renaissance continues to push the envelope.”

The ProjectClick to Enlarge
As a leader in non-GMO yeast strain development, Renaissance BioScience is committed to continually advancing its technical and commercial capabilities through investment in platform research and development. In this project, RBSC will invest in the R&D of next-generation yeast-strain development tools that will facilitate the high-throughput robust optimization and specialization of yeast for the food, beverage, and feed industries. This project will enable RBSC to accelerate the development of novel yeast strains that address industrial process and product challenges, offer efficiency gains and process optimization opportunities, and introduce the potential for new product flavors, aromas and functions, all while also meeting end-user demand for non-GMO ingredients.

Given the growth in the use of yeast and cutting-edge genetic tools to build the synthetic biology industry, it is perfect timing to be building next-generation tools to facilitate the development of non-GMO yeast. The industry is beginning to recognize that there are important benefits to combining GMO and non-GMO yeast in certain specific industrial situations to optimize end-use products. The Mitacs funding will ensure that RBSC continues to be the leading developer of non-GMO industrial innovations for existing and new yeast-based products.

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 18 years. Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and governments at both the federal and provincial levels, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. Open to all disciplines and industry sectors, Mitacs’ projects span a wide range of areas, including manufacturing, business processes, IT, social sciences, design and more. Mitacs is funded by the federal and provincial governments, as well as by university and industry partners.

Renaissance BioScience Corp., based in Vancouver, Canada, is a privately held applied life sciences company that develops novel, yeast-based, patent-protected technologies for the global food, beverage, nutrition, biofuel and pharmaceutical industries. The wholly owned commercial subsidiaries of Renaissance BioScience Corp. include Renaissance Yeast Inc., which commercializes hydrogen sulfide-preventing wine yeast; Renaissance Ingredients Inc., which commercializes acrylamide-reducing yeast; and Bright Brewers Yeast Inc., which commercializes beer yeast technologies.

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