The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing — Day 1 Review

We attended several sessions yesterday and learned about biofuels and bioproducts investment; bioingredients for food and nutrition; and strategies for profitable commercialization of renewable chemicals, among others.

One of the highlights was the lunch plenary, where panelists Brian J.M. Ames (DOW Chemical),  Balu Sarma (Praj Matrix), Feike Sijbesma (DSM) and Peter Williams (INEOS Technologies) addressed a panel discussion entitled “A Global View from Corporate Leaders”.

In an exchange that points to the reasons over 1000 people now attend the conference, the moderator noted that few large chemical companies have invested in industrial biotech, and asked whether more will begin to do so, and whether early adopters will get a lasting advantage…

Peter Williams’ view was that other large chemical companies will move into industrial biotech and that early entrants won’t get a lasting advantage over well-funded followers. He expects a big focus on industrial biotech in China.

Brian Ames agrees that we are at the beginning of the adoption cycle and points to Dupont’s Danisco bid as a signal. He is confident that cost-driven decisions will continue to be key.

Balu Sarma agrees as well, and sees good news for young industrial biotechnology companies as he expects that large chemical companies will rely on partners to develop their own capabilities.

Fieke Sijbesma followed that comment noting that there has never been a major technological shift without the emergence of brand-new companies.

Everyone in the audience is trying to be, fund, or partner with the giants in waiting that are sure to emerge over the next 10 years in this industry. Stay tuned…

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