About Us

Plants are nature's principal chemists, capable of producing a vast array of natural biomolecules that are both critical to their own life cycle and also core ingredients in many cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food and agricultural products.  

However, the yield of these biomolecules from plants is typically very low, or is limited by the plant species’ population. Due to their complexity the chemical synthesis of these biomolecules is routinely not economically viable or sustainable.

Therefore, producing sufficient quantities of these natural biomolecules to meet rapidly growing public demand can be problematic.

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Our Solution 

Green Bioactives is an innovative start-up biotech from the University of Edinburgh that has developed a sustainable, reliable and economical plant cell-based biomanufacturing platform of plant biomolecules – utilising natural plant biochemistry, particularly the unique properties of plant vascular stem cells, to produce target bioactive molecules for the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food and agricultural markets.

Our History

Green Bioactives Ltd was established through the Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme funded by Innovate UK. In 2018 Green Bioactives Ltd was awarded a place on the ICURe programme to explore the global plant natural products market, and the company identified an urgent requirement for a robust and sustainable source of plant bioactive molecules across different industrial sectors.

Subsequently, Green Bioactives was awarded significant Innovate UK funding to accelerate the development of our plant cell biomanufacturing platform and supply plant bioactive ingredients in a sustainable way.

The company opened its research lab at the Roslin Innovation Centre (RIC) in March 2020. Since then Green Bioactives has been successful in securing further funding and developing new technologies to fine-tune the production of high-value molecules in cultured plant cells.

2020 Relocation to the Roslin Innovation Centre

2018 ICURe Program

  • BBSRC grant awarded

  • Patent application filed

  • IBioIC grant awarded

  • Collaboration agreement signed

2022 Expansion phase

2019 Company formation

  • ICURe Follow on funding awarded

  • Innovation Cup runner up

2021 Strengthening of our plant cell biomanufacturing platform

  • IBioIC grant awarded

  • GBL team expanded

  • Participation in Bioeconomy cluster Pitch event

  • Plant natural products market assessment

  • Pre seed investment


Our Team

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David McElroy, PhD

David McElroy, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Dr David McElroy is an experienced agbio leader and joined GBL in December 2021 as Non-executive Board Director. David co-founded agbio start-ups Verdia and NovaSynthetix, as well as natural gas-to-feed company Calysta. He was also instrumental in helping launch computation-based protein design company Arzeda and has held roles as President of agbiotech SME Targeted Growth at DuPont Food & Ag., VP of Business Development at Maxygen and Senior Scientist at DeKalb Genetics/Monsanto.

David holds a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from Cornell University where he was a Fulbright Scholar and NATO Overseas Fellow, as well as a BSc (Hons) in Plant Science from University of Aberdeen. David is an inventor on 17 patent families.

Chief Executive Officer


Gary Loake, PhD

Gary Loake, PhD

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr Gary Loake co-founded GBL in 2020. Prior to GBL, Gary was a Professor of Molecular Plant Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and his research experience spans regulation, biosynthesis and production of plant natural products.

He co-founded and was a former governing Board member of the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), a networking and support organisation that connects industry, academia and government to bring biotechnology processes and products to the global market. Gary holds a PhD from Durham University and is a scientific advisor to Unilever, PlantIntel and VeryGrass.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

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John Craig 

Chief Financial Officer

John is the Owner and Director of DC Consulting, one of Scotland’s leading business advisory & corporate finance practices, and has over 20 years’ experience in corporate finance and business advisory services to SMEs. John is a Non-executive Finance Director of a number of companies.

Prior to DC Consulting, John worked at Mazars as Senior Audit Manager. John qualified as a Chartered Account with Henderson Loggie and is Bachelor of Accounting (BACC) Hons from the University of Dundee.

John Craig

Chief Financial Officer

Yuan Li, PhD

Yuan Li, PhD

Research Lead 

Dr Yuan Li has extensive plant biology, tissue culture and gene editing expertise with experience working with industry partners including Unilever and VeryGrass Corp. on numerous plant cell culture projects. As an industrial partner, Yuan was successful in achieving award funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC).


Prior to GBL, Yuan was a post-doctoral research assistant at the University of Edinburgh. He holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh in addition to Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Imperial College and the University of Sheffield.

Research Lead

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Samuel Casasola-Zamora, PhD

Operations Lead 

Dr Samuel Casasola-Zamora is a plant biologist focused on molecular biology and recombinant protein expression with expertise plant bioinformatics and analysis of the plant transcriptome including sequencing data. Prior to GBL, Samuel was a PhD Tech Transfer Intern at Edinburgh Innovations.

Samuel gained his PDRA, PhD and MSc from the University of Edinburgh. Samuel is an alumna of the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (BioYES).


Samuel Casasola-Zamora, PhD

Production Lead

Dr. Samuel Casasola