Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

UniQuest connects Viral Genetics, Inc. subsidiary with UQ IMB's Ben Hankamer to collaborate on biofuel technology.

UniQuest has facilitated a research and development contract with US biotech company Viral Genetics, Inc. for University of Queensland (UQ) Associate Professor Ben Hankamer (pictured) to collaborate on an innovative biofuel production system.

VG Energy, a California-based, majority-owned subsidiary of Viral Genetics, sought the world-leading expertise of Associate Professor Hankamer, who is based at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), to optimise the use of its Metabolic Disruption Technology (MDT) compounds in algae lipid production for biofuel production.

Details of the contract’s value and timing are commercial in confidence. However, UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson, said this was the first R&D project Viral Genetics had contracted with UniQuest to access research within The University of Queensland.

“This contract reflects the confidence that overseas companies like VG Energy have in Australian innovation generally and UQ research particularly. Associate Professor Ben Hankamer is an internationally respected biofuels expert, as well as co-director of the collaborative Solar Biofuels Consortium,” said Mr Henderson.

“High-efficiency microalgal bio-fuels and bio-product production systems represent a rapidly expanding area of biotechnology with global significance.

“UniQuest’s Consulting and Research Division plays a vital role in helping industry access the expertise and resources of world-class university researchers, while at the same time enabling Australian scientists to contribute innovative solutions to global challenges,” he said.

Associate Professor Hankamer’s multi-part study aims to identify the ideal parameters for the use of VG Energy’s MDT compounds. His team will test a selected set of micro-algae strains and the optimum conditions for commercial production.

“One of the exciting aspects of our work with VG Energy is the potential to develop improved processes for solar- driven fuel production,” said Associate Professor Hankamer.

“Establishing sustainable solar fuel production processes could, in-turn, lead to new industries and opportunities for competitive growth within existing industries,” he said.

Associate Professor Hankamer’s research group specialises in photosynthesis, and the development of microalgael biofuel and bio-product systems.


This research contract is one of several announcements from UniQuest coinciding with this year’s BIO (booth 3435 in the Australia Pavilion).


Leanne Wyvill

phone: +61 7 3365 4037
mobile: +61 409 767 199
fax: +61 7 3365 4433

Image available:
IMB's Associate Professor Ben Hankamer

Contact Profile

UniQuest Pty Limited

Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1500+ patents it has created over 70 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than A$450 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at A$3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland including the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. A recent addition to the company is the Queensland Government-supported ilab technology business incubator and accelerator. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 60+ countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.

Leanne Wyvill
P: +61 7 3365 4037
M: +61 409 767 199


Cleantech Biofuels Biotechnology University research & innovation



More Formats

View QR Code