IMSL to Build Production Facility Thanks to Regional Selective Assistance (RSA)

Released: Wednesday 10th October 2012

 3rd October 2012

Integrated Magnetic Systems Ltd (IMSL), a biotechnology company based in Dundee 
Scotland, announced that it is expanding into Unit 20 at the Prospect Business Centre and 
converting it into a Protein Production Facility. 
A Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant of £59,000 will support 
the company’s investment of £168,000 to expand its operations and create four new jobs.  
“As you can imagine, the specialised equipment for a production lab - incubators, 
sonicators, presses, centrifuges - is very expensive”, says Dr Eddie Blair, Chief Executive 
at IMSL. “We estimate that the equipment alone will cost about £168,000. And it will 
take four people to run the equipment within the Production Facility.”
“When we plugged those capital expenditures and salaries into our planning model, we 
concluded that we couldn’t afford it. But without that infrastructure in place, we’d have 
to turn down customers and contracts. Scottish Enterprise provided the solution, through 
this RSA grant, by contributing £59,000 to our equipment needs.” 
Julie Brady, IMSL’s Scottish Enterprise account manager said, “IMSL is a great example 
of an innovative Scottish company with international growth ambitions, and, by working 
alongside the management team, we can help them achieve these ambitions faster.”
“Our relationship with IMSL started with a project to develop the founding technology,
together with commercialisation assistance to create the company and a SMART: 
Scotland award to help with the feasibility of the technology.  With the RSA award in 
place, the company can now focus on scaling up production to open up new commercial 
opportunities in the near future.”
Dr Blair continued, “This grant provides the assistance we need to build a Production 
Facility that enables us to supply large quantities of magnetic proteins to our customers 
around the world. Without this aid, IMSL would struggle to meet demand, thus missing 
opportunities, disappointing customers and risking failure. Instead, in a few months’ 
time, IMSL will enter the lucrative market of recombinant protein production, offering a 
unique and useful biotechnology product, invented in Scotland and staying in Scotland.” 
Asked to explain what IMSL’s Production Facility will actually do, Dr Jamie Love, Chief 
Operations Officer, replied, “We need a lot of specialised biotech equipment to make 
magnetic proteins. To get the best yields from our bacteria we must swirl them at hundreds of RPMs (revolutions per minute) and maintain them at a temperature that 
cannot deviate by more than a degree.”
“To get the bacteria to release the fusion protein, we use high energy, high frequency 
sound waves or squeeze them very hard. To collect the protein, the material is spun at 
tens of thousands of RPMs, creating a pulling force tens of thousands of times more 
powerful than Earth’s gravity. After that, the protein is purified through a series of 
“columns” that separate its different parts into a series of pure fractions. And then we 
magnetise it!”
IMSL use genetic engineering to stitch together a “fusion gene”, made from two genes 
that would otherwise produce two separate proteins. One of the genes codes for a protein 
that specifically binds a target molecule. The other gene codes for a protein that naturally 
collects metal atoms - such as iron. The fusion gene is transferred into bacteria that then 
produce the fusion protein. IMSL’s scientists collect that protein, purify it and make it 
magnetic. These unique proteins can be used to capture, detect and purify molecules and 
cells for research or diagnostic use and, further down the road, magnetic proteins may be 
used to kill cancer cells or support regenerative medicine.
“We really needed to invest in a proper Production Facility.”, said Dr Prabs Dehal, 
IMSL’s Chief Scientific Officer, senior author of the research paper, “Magnetizable 
antibody-like proteins”, and first named inventor on several patents and applications 
covering the methods of using magnetic proteins. “Our small-scale, bench-top production 
runs were enough to prove the technology works, and good enough to get the attention of 
several global biotech suppliers, but it would have been impossible for us to make 
magnetic proteins at the required larger-scales in our current lab.”
About Integrated Magnetic Systems Ltd
Integrated Magnetic Systems Ltd (IMSL) offers magnetic proteins to the life science 
community (research and bio-processing) while further developing its magnetic proteins 
technologies for licensing and partnering opportunities in medicine (diagnostics and 
therapeutics). In 2011, the company grew from 2 employees to its current staff of 6. To 
support its business, IMSL generates valuable intellectual property (IP) around magnetic 
proteins and in-licensed IP from Scottish Enterprise and New Century Pharmaceuticals 
About Regional Selective Assistance
Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is the main national scheme of financial assistance 
to industry. It provides discretionary grants to investment projects that will create and 
safeguard employment in areas designated for regional aid under European Community 
Payment of RSA is made in instalments, typically over several years as job and capital 
expenditure targets are met. Not all projects will proceed, and nor do all accepted offers 
result in full payment, as projects are sometimes scaled down or abandoned before 
payments are made. The figures quoted represent the maximum grant potentially payable if the project is satisfactorily completed, and not the amount actually paid to date. All job 
numbers are firms’ forecast figures, and are subject to change depending on future 
economic conditions and other factors affecting the businesses concerned.
For more information on RSA go to
For further information see or contact Dr Jamie Love, or Telephone 
+44(0) 1382 561 087.

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