Industry Support for UK Agri-Tech Centre – Ángela de Manzanos

Published: May 23, 2024

Ángela de Manzanos co-founded the biotechnology company FA Bio whilst completing her doctorate at Imperial College London. Now CEO, she has 16 years of experience in agriculture and is an entrepreneur working with the UK Agri-Tech Centre to apply biotechnology to help farmers produce more with less.

“Mentorship and partnerships have been crucial in my career and a key part of the journey to launch and establish our company.

I have had many different mentors and partners through the different aspects of my career to date. Industry experts that have guided me to develop valuable solutions, coaches that have helped me build my network and mentors who have acted as a sounding board for ideas and strategies. All of whom have had a part in the development of FA Bio.

Our company focuses on discovering sustainable bio-product solutions to minimise agriculture’s impact on the environment whilst increasing productivity. Our journey started for myself and my co-founder Kerry when we were studying for our PhDs at Imperial college London. We entered a number of entrepreneurial competitions with our solution, the SporSenZ, one of which resulted in a patent application.

Ángela de Manzanos holding SporSenz technology

Entrepreneurial competitions were really the catalyst for our story, and we were lucky enough to benefit from the encouragement and mentorship of FA Bio’s previous chairman, the late Paul Atherton. He was a strong advocate of entrepreneurship and helped guide us through the ups and downs of our company and gave us the guidance on how to grow a business.

I have always been passionate about biotechnology, and in particular the interface between microbes and plants that are static beings but have intricate relationships with their surroundings. Microbiology is fascinating to me, and there is so much potential here for agriculture, particularly to overcome soil degradation and food security issues.

SporSenZ was our first innovation, an in-the-field early detection sensor to recognise living and active soil-borne plant diseases, designed to alert farmers to the risk of infection and help plan fungicide application for good management practices. More recently, we are working on developing a dual-action biopesticide for wheat, using native fungi to protect against both insect pests and diseases.

We have been a member for many years now and we make the most of our membership. We utilise the ability to make connections and access resource capabilities and expertise that we might not have otherwise been able to. Our team and our scientists particularly enjoy participating in the industry events days with external stakeholders and find it very useful.

Collaboration is a real key for acceleration as a start-up with limited resources its crucial to find the right partners and skillset to help test your ideas. One of our key values at FA Bio is collaboration and what it actually means, and we all agree bringing people together to face a challenge is key to driving the sector forward.

As the company grows and we scale up, evolving into the next phase of our company, I am really proud of the team we’ve built and how aligned we are in culture and passion for the work we do. It’s a mark of our success and I’m excited to see how disruptive we can be in the regenerative agriculture space.”

These views are of Ángela de Manzanos, not of the UK Agri-Tech Centre.

If you have any questions about what Ángela de Manzanos has to say or have any general enquiries about the UK Agri-Tech Centre, please contact