Major grant brings pioneering biotech company to City Region

A GRANT of £400,000 from a fund established to encourage inward investment is bringing the eco-friendly bio-tech company Holiferm to the Liverpool City Region.

The investment is the first from the Inward Investment Facilitation Fund (I2F2), set up as part of the £75m Business Growth Package introduced by Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.

This project involves the creation of a new facility to make bio-surfactants – used in detergents and toiletries – using an innovative, environmentally-friendly process.

Holiferm is an award-winning University of Manchester spin out biotech company that already operates from a base in Manchester with a successful prototype version of the proposed plant.

The project will scale up the activity with a larger pilot plant at Sci-Tech Daresbury followed by a fully commercial plant in Wirral, potentially creating 25 jobs.

Surfactants are a key ingredient in the manufacture of detergents and personal care products, but current mainstream products use primarily hydrocarbon or tropical oil-based surfactants.

Today environmentally-friendly products use a costly yeast-based batch fermentation process. Holiferm has developed an approach which allows this yeast-based approach to be carried out as a semi-continuous process.

Speaking about the funding, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “These are tough times for the country and our region, but we are doing everything we can to protect people’s jobs and businesses, while trying to attract and create new ones.

“I’m really glad that we’ve been able to attract Holiferm to the region through our Business Growth Package – and I hope they’ll be the first of many.

“Retaining as many businesses, jobs and investment as possible, while attracting new ones will be really important in helping our region recover from the economic effects of this pandemic, but we’re already making a start!”

Ben Dolman (Founder and CEO) of Holiferm has said: “The intersection of World class talent, excellent raw material supply logistics, global players in the household and personal care markets, combined with both financial and operational support from the local region makes the Liverpool City Region the best possible location for Holiferm to take its’ next steps towards global provision of bioproducts. We are extremely grateful for the financial support and future thinking from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority which is enabling Holiferm to progress much more rapidly towards commercialisation of our biomanufacturing technology.

“We are proud and privileged that Liverpool City Region wants to be at the forefront future sustainable chemical manufacturing, ensuring the future for our children and help the prosperity of the north west.”