RESEARCH on producing a natural, low-calorie sweetener from cereal straw, an agricultural waste stream, has led to the launch of an exciting new company on Aberystwyth University’s Innovation and Enterprise Campus.

ARCITEKBio Ltd. (ABL) has developed a biotechnological solution to produce xylitol – a diabetic and tooth-friendly natural sweetener from biomass in an environmentally friendly way, aiming to challenge the existing multi-million-pound global industry.

ARCITEKBio Ltd. (ABL) is based on the new Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) in Gogerddan, initially employing 3 people.

The brainchild of Drs Abhishek Somani, Joe Gallagher and David Bryant, ARCITEKBio Ltd. (ABL) is a spinout company from Aberystwyth Universi­ty’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences. Drs Narcis Fernandez-Fuentes and Sreenivas Rao Ravella were also involved in the initial development of the technology.

Dr Somani said: “ARCITEKBio is founded on the principles of sustainable growth, innovation with impact and value creation.

“Our breakthrough, eco-friendly technology for xylitol production combined with the ability to add value to agricultural wastes, positions us to disrupt the global sweeteners industry.

“With backing from the UK government and led by a talented team of industry experts, scientists and advisors, we are all working together to achieve our vision.”

Dr Somani is one of a team of scientists at IBERS that first started working on xylitol under the BEACON project funded by European Regional Development Fund ERDF, and the EU EIT Climate-KIC funded BIO-SUCCINNOVATE project.

The project was led by Dr Bryant, where he was primarily responsible for developing synthetic biology and fermentation strategies to produce a natural sweetener called xylitol from biomass, a process protected by patent application by Aberystwyth University.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “Universities make an impact on the everyday lives of people by taking their research from the academic arena to the wider world. Not only does this spinout demonstrate the commercial potential and the real-world impact of academic research, ARCITEKBio is also the first company to evolve directly from our University and make its base on our new Innovation and Enterprise Campus.”

Dr Rhian Hayward is CEO of AberInnovation and said: “ARCITEKBio is the realisation of the partnership between IBERS and AberInnovation, and typifies the translation of the very best agri-science developed on this site into products and services.

“We are pleased to host ARCITEKBio Ltd. (ABL) and look forward to their growth among our community of innovative companies.