BEACON Case Studies

Boss Brewing was established at the end of 2014 by Sarah John and Roy Allkin in the Swansea Enterprise Park. However, the BEACON project was able to assist Sarah and Roy before they started when the project partnered with the Guardian Newspaper to run a Guardian Masterclass - How to launch a microbrewery - in the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. This event was also attended by many others in this sector.

BEACON scientists at Swansea were able to offer their experience of growing, storing and analysing yeast fermentations, as well as helping Boss Brewery to move towards a wet yeast operation from using dried yeast for brewing. Engineering and yeast experience was offered, and advice given with practical assistance and training provided in the laboratories of the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University Medical School. These were transferred to Boss Brewing in new processes for the company with monitoring of dissolved oxygen, pH, bitterness and other important factors for quality control.

In this time, Boss Brewing expanded to 8 staff, including management, with growth of sales firstly along the M4 to England. A first venue, Copper, was opened in Swansea in Castle Square selling their beers and lagers, artisan foods and cakes made with their beer. The Brewery won two awards at the Champion Beer of Wales awards in 2016 and 2017, and is now selling their beer in Asda, Co-Op, Morrison supermarkets, and Wetherspoons nationwide. Sarah John also won Young Business Person of the Year at Swansea Bay Business Awards in 2017 and, in 2018, she also won a chwarae teg award for business.

Due to the success that the BEACON project and the Institute of Life Sciences was able to foster, Boss Brewing have now needed to move into new larger premises to enable further growth. The new site is ten times larger than the previous premises and brings back into use a disused old cinema that was built in 1913 as part of the community facilities for the old Swansea Copperworks. The company now employs 25 people.

Commenting on the help BEACON had provided to Boss Brewery Roy Allkin said; ”The support we’ve had from the BEACON team in the Institute of Life Science at Swansea was invaluable and they really helped with their knowledge of yeast and fermentations. They showed us how to greatly improve process control and also lent us equipment at a time we were starting up and funds were extremely tight.”

Moleculomics is a SU spin-out from the Institute of Life Science in Swansea University. Interaction between proteins and chemical compounds is an inherently complex problem which is of significant importance to research and development processes across a broad range of sectors. Moleculomics has developed powerful structural modelling and virtual screening platforms capable of simulating real life conditions by virtue of increased understanding of molecular interaction at the whole system level.

The Moleculomics technologies utilize the latest High Performance Computing approaches and are applied extensively to wild type, mutations and polymorphic variation within organisms. They are used to identify interactions, not only at the targets of interest, but also elsewhere across the entire proteome or across several proteomes.

Increased scale of understanding of molecular interaction enables research and development times to be reduced by more rapid and wider identification of target hits while simultaneously reducing the risk of adverse or off-target interactions.

Moleculomics is the only company offering open-ended lead discovery, toxicity screening and protein network identification, that is completely unlimited in reach, and that is applied across multiple genomes.

With offices in both the UK and North America, the Swansea headquartered company employs 8 people. The company has worked with partners such as the Ministry of Defence, Unilever, Dow AgroSciences and Air Liquide. BEACON has interacted with Moleculomics to produce peer-reviewed publications underlining their capabilities in explanation of how mutations cause antimicrobial resistance in fungi. The ability to test computer predictions allows BEACON to help Moleculomics using wet laboratory experiments to help the cycle of refinement of procedures. These areas of research overlap priorities in reducing animals in experimentation and combatting antimicrobial drug resistance.

Commenting on the help BEACON scientists at Swansea had provided to Moleculomics CEO Jonathan Mullins said: “Having support from the world-class experimental scientists in BEACON has allowed a synergistic approach for the bioinformatic products offered by Moleculomics, with examples of the research appearing in leading peer-reviewed journals. This not only builds external confidence in the company, but it allows real world testing of molecular predictions.”

More information can be found on the BEACON website.