Entrepreneurial scientist Dr Tanya Curtis plans further expansion & new business ideas

Fast-growing food safety testing firm Curtis Analytics has relocated to Discovery Park, the Life Sciences Opportunity Zone for ambitious and growing life sciences companies, taking advantage of its grow-on space and high specification facilities. The company is a leader in the automated detection of asparagine, a precursor of the potentially carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemical acrylamide, in foods. Curtis Analytics’ four staff occupy 1,400 sq ft of laboratory and office space, with additional staff expected in due course.

Dr Curtis is an expert in acrylamide formation in foodstuffs, having been a researcher in this area for over a decade with much of the foundational work supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). This work has included collaborations with household name food brands and input into European Commission regulations for benchmark levels of acrylamide in food. The company was formed as a spin-out of Rothamsted Research in 2017.

Funding from Innovate UK has also been awarded previously to Curtis Analytics for the development of ASNInsta Test, a rapid test for asparagine in flour, as well as for an ongoing project to drive food acrylamide policy in the UK and elsewhere. Curtis Analytics is able to process a market-leading 26,000 tests per year, helping food manufacturers ensure their products meet safety guidelines.

Acrylamide is formed from precursors like asparagine when foods such as potatoes, beans and cereals are cooked at more than 120˚C, for example during baking or roasting. These reactions also give the foods their flavour, colour and smell.

Dr Tanya Curtis, Director, Curtis Analytics, said ‘The team is delighted to be fully operational in our new premises at Discovery Park. With our high specification laboratories and space to expand, Curtis Analytics is ready for its next stage of development. I’m also looking forward to developing other business ideas, such as biodegradeable packaging for fertilisers, alongside the innovative community here.’

Mayer Schreiber, CEO of Discovery Park, said, ‘Exciting, fast-growing companies like Curtis Analytics are the life blood of Discovery Park, and we are delighted that it has relocated here. With its plans to expand and entrepreneurial spirit, the company is a great asset to the Park.’