Press releases
2 May 2005, Zwingenberg/Basel

BRAIN and Ciba Specialty Chemicals join forces

Biotechnology company BRAIN AG and Swiss Ciba Specialty Chemicals cooperate in the development of „designer-bugs“ for the sustainable production of specialty chemicals from renewable resources. Their goal is the fermentative production of chemical building blocks.

To achieve this BRAIN will develop specialized “designer-bugs” which use fermentable sugars to synthesize specialty chemicals. Through these microbial biotransformations a net reduction in energy and organic solvent consumption is achieved along with significant savings on fossil resources. The natural diversity of enzymes and metabolic pathways provides biotechnological access to valuable and novel chemicals and highlights the scope and potential of what is called “White Biotechnology”. In the course of this cooperation BRAIN AG will identify and develop microbial strains and metabolic pathways derived from its proprietary BioArchives® suitable to implement biological production processes for Ciba Specialty Chemicals. “By utilizing biocatalysts we want to improve industrial processes for the production of specialty chemicals and at the same time make these processes more environmentally benign”. says Dr. Martin Riediker, Chief Technology Officer at Ciba Specialty Chemicals. “The cooperation with BRAIN AG complements and accelerates our own activities in this sector”. „The development of designer bugs and optimized biocatalysts hallmarks the growing importance of White biotechnology for efficient production processes“. says Dr. Jürgen Eck member of the board and Head of Research at BRAIN AG. „Our BioArchives harbour thousands of valuable synthetic routes. Through our EvoSolution® Technology platform we can identify developmental candidates, design production strains and improve enzymes and processes. We are confident to be able to identify novel sustainable pathways for the production of specialty chemicals using our proprietary tools”. The cooperation with Ciba is the third major contract of BRAIN AG in the field of White biotechnology in the running year after deals with nutraceutical producer NUTRINOVA and consumer goods producer HENKEL KGaA. This highlights the dynamics of this field of biotechnology. Projections by both EuropaBio and McKinsey estimate that in the coming 5 years 10-20 percent of sales in the chemical industry will be made through biological products and processes.

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