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Early-stage investor UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund today announces that Cambridge-based start-up Colorifix won the “Breaking New Ground” award in the Bio-start competition for companies using engineering biology to solve significant global problems.
Colorifix manufactures vibrant and long lasting fabric dyes entirely using biological processes to help the textile industry dramatically and cost-effectively reduce its environmental impact. The company makes use of the emerging field of synthetic biology to improve the sustainability of textile dyeing and treatment, an industry that The World Bank has estimated contributes approximately 17-20% of the Earth’s total industrial water pollution.
The textile dyeing industry consumes over six trillion litres of water a year. The only industries that consume more water than the textiles are energy and agriculture. In many instances, wastewater from the dye industry is directly pumped into surface waters without treatment. This waste effluent carries a wide variety of chemicals arising from the processing of dyes. All dyes currently used in the industry, even natural dyes, require the use of harmful chemicals. These include organic solvents, acids and heavy metals used in their production and application.In contrast,
In contrast, Colorifix dyes are biologically produced, do not contain petrochemical products, mordants or fixers and adhere to strict safety guidelines, including those for biological waste and its safe disposal. The company’s waste per dyed unit is at least three fold lower than the industry standard. Less water means less waste, in terms of water, electricity and chemicals used.
“We plan to use the generous UKI2S prize to obtain OEKO-TEX certification for some our products,” commented Dr Orr Yarkoni, Colorifix CEO. “This will validate the technology against existing standards and open the tap on our revenue stream. We are getting ready to put our products out there and we are excited to showcase the power of engineered biology to address global challenges.”
Oliver Sexton, Investment Director at UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund, commented “Colorifix won the prize because its technology is truly disruptive. With its a ground-breaking dyes that work across a vast range of fabrics, Colorifix has the ability to change one of the most polluting industries into one of the most sustainable. For the first time, mass-market consumers can enjoy organic fabrics vibrantly dyed using entirely environmentally sound processes. In doing so it is also truly scalable. UKI2S wishes Colorifix the best of success.”
Colorifix was selected for UKI2S’ “Breaking New Ground” award from amongst five promising finalists, including Bio-start winner CustoMem, demonstrating how engineering biology is delivering compelling solutions to global challenges. The judging was chaired by Sir Richard Sykes, former Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline.
Bio-start, sponsored by UKI2S and SynbiCITE, is an annual competition designed to commercialise the engineering of biology, including a 10-week accelerator programme aiming to help start-ups forge ahead in commercialising their technology.
Dr Orr Yarkoni, Colorifix CEO
+44 (0)7853 937 145
Jennifer Edwards, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund
+44 (0)121 710 1990