Last week EuropaBio organised EFIB 2021 kick-off webinar ‘How to accelerate biotech innovation for a sustainable future”. The event was co-hosted by DSM and Planet B.io, both located at the Biotech Campus Delft.
Agnes Borg, Industrial Biotechnology Director at EuropaBio, welcomed participants to the webinar, noting that industrial biotechnology is well placed to contribute to the objectives of the EU Green Deal.
Dr Claire Skentelbery, Director-General of EuropaBio, looks forward to welcoming participants to EFIB 2021 in Vienna, Austria with local host LISAvienna. Austria has a strong industrial biotechnology landscape so is the ideal backdrop for a return to an in-person conference. A key theme of EFIB2021 is how industrial biotechnology delivers across a range of sectors through innovative products & processes, while contributing towards EU Green Deal objectives. In particular, innovation will be showcased through the Start-up Village and Innovation Campus, for which applications are open until 16 June.
Cindy Gerhardt, Managing Director, Planet-B.io at the Biotech Campus Delft
Cindy introduced Planet-B.io as the open innovation ecosystem for industrial biotechnology. She discussed the benefits of collaboration between corporates and start-ups, from providing investment opportunities and increasing entrepreneurship for corporates to access capital, increased structure and credibility for start-ups. She shared Planet-B.io learnings on corporate-startup interactions in the DSM ecosystem, noting that financial, technical, and business support is crucial for start-ups. Joining a triple-helix, multi-tenant campus like the Biotech Campus Delft and becoming part of an innovation ecosystem can be a key step in accessing this support. Cindy also shared her positive experiences with the recent DSM meat replacement innovation challenge and discussed the valuable role that those competitions can provide to all parties. However, she advised that start-ups should thoroughly decide whether or not to take part in those challenges and that it would generally offer the best fit for founders if the requested scope is rather targeted to a specific topic, than only a broad call for innovation.
Amadeus Driando Ahnan-Winarno – Co-Founder & Head of Technology, Better Nature
Amadeus briefly introduced Better Nature, who won the EFIB2020 Start-Up Forum. Better Nature is a UK-based start-up that offers meat alternative food products using tempeh fermentation. With this approach, the company provides a plant-based alternative to other meat-free products which use artificial or ultra-processed ingredients. In the near future, the pipeline will also include the Better Nature burger and dairy ingredients. The focus of his talk was on what startups need in moving from lab to market, summarizing that confidentiality, customizability, scaleability, and product-market fit are among the major points to be addressed by founders, and that every product development stage has different needs. From his experience, up-scaling manufacturing processes is among one of the most challenging steps. Amadeus also provided insights on the most recent and successful crowdfunding campaign of his company.
Rob van der Meij (Partner, Capricorn Partners)
Rob’s opinion is that industrial biotech is the next stage of investment. In his presentation, he gave an overview of Capricorn Partner’s portfolio of which a majority is related to industrial biotechnology. With regard to the market Rob perceives industrial biotechnology as a sustainable alternatives to existing approaches in chemistry and other industrial sectors. Cost reductions in working with DNA and new platform technologies have contributed to more applications, he said. Rob added that biotech innovation in this field is not going for the lowest prices and also pointed to the fact that cars in their early days were not cheaper than horses. From his perspective, the drivers for industrial biotechnology are much stronger today than ten years ago. He particularly mentioned aspects related to consumer demand and policy and regulation such as the EU Green Deal. In addition, he emphasized that founders should not be shy with regard to defending their developments towards corporates and investors.
EFIB 2021 will take place 6-7 October 2021 in Vienna, Austria as an onsite event. More information, the programme and registration here.
EFIB 2021 launch event: biotech community discussed innovation solutions for a sustainable future