Swansea University-based company wins Made in Wales Award 2018 for fighting crop pests naturally

Swansea University based bio-tech company, Bionema, has won the Medical, Life Sciences and Healthcare Award 2018 at the Wales Business Insider’s Made in Wales Awards 2018.

Bionema Made in Wales awardsThe awards, which took place on 4 October at Cardiff’s City Hall, recognise businesses across the engineering; manufacturing; food and drink; export; medical; life sciences and healthcare industries.

Bionema was acknowledged for its significant impact on reducing global chemical pesticides. Bio pesticides are the natural alternative to toxic chemicals - plants, bacteria, fungi and minerals for the control of insect pests which attack food and other crops.  They are non-toxic, decompose rapidly and can be targeted at specific pests to avoid harming beneficial insects.

Speaking with Jason Mohammad, BBC presenter at the awards, Dr Minshad Ali Ansari, founder and CEO of Bionema, said: “We are delighted that Bionema has been recognised within the Medical, Life Sciences and Healthcare industry by Wales Business Insider.  This accolade helps raise the profile and the impact of the work that Bionema is doing, not just within our industry but to other businesses as well, across Wales and beyond.”

Bionema is rapidly building a reputation for the supply of natural pesticides as an alternative to potentially harmful chemical products. The innovative technology used has been proven to provide higher yield in fruits and vegetables, whilst at the same time making a significant contribution to both global food safety and security.  Dr Ansari said: “Bionema is developing a range of new bio-products to meet EU legislation for safe, residue-free foods.”

Earlier this year, Bionema, secured its first round of £500,000 equity investment led by an overseas private investor with co-investment from the Development Bank of Wales, Swansea Innovations and Swansea University. The company also received £766,000 in grant funding from Innovate UK and £100,000 Research Development and Innovation funding from Welsh Government’s SMART Cymru, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund for the development of novel formulation technology.

Dr Ansari said: "Partnering with Swansea University has allowed us to access onsite expertise and experience, use their excellent facilities and offer practical experience to the next generation of biological control entrepreneurs.  Working with the University has also given us the opportunity to develop this important new way of controlling the increasing number of insect pests across the EU and worldwide."

Speaking about Bionema’s success, Swansea University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Richard B Davies said: “I am delighted that Bionema has been recognised in the Made in Wales awards.  The technology that Bionema is developing represents a double win: greater productivity, and importantly, a significant contribution to global food safety and security.  Bionema is an excellent example of how Swansea University is working with companies to provide sustainable solutions for our world.”

Pictured from left: Stephen Burt, Finance Director; Dr Minshad A Ansari, Founder and CEO; Meraj Syeda, Operational Director of Bionema and Jim Robertson from Wynne-Jones IP