The big Chinese fine chemical company Zhejiang NHU invest €5.5 million in the biotech start-up CysBio to develop new and affordable biochemicals
Credit: The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU)/CysBio
CysBio is making cost-effective and novel biochemicals via sustainable fermentation processes. Through advanced synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches microorganisms are engineered to convert simple sugars into desired biochemical products. This makes it possible to produce expensive chemicals at very attractive cost levels and furthermore enables the production of novel or rare biochemicals.
The products will have applications in a variety of areas such as the food, feed, nutrition, pharma, cosmetics, and polymer industries.
“Our technologies enable CysBio to create some of the cheapest biochemicals available, as well as some very exciting new products with novel applications as functional chemical building blocks,” says Alex Toftgaard Nielsen, CSO and Co-founder of CysBio and Professor at DTU Biosustain.
Based on scientific research from DTU
CysBio’s technologies are patented and based on scientific research conducted at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at the Technical University of Denmark. This research has made it possible to modify and engineer the bacteria’s metabolism, thus, making them able to produce specific amino acids and sulfated biochemicals.
“The investment from NHU demonstrates how DTU’s innovation eco-system has successfully assisted in translating academic research into a privately funded spin-out company with a strong technology platform,” says Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU.
Big unexploited potential
The technology platform paves the way for producing compounds used for e.g. new polymer materials with new functionalities such as conductivity and adhesiveness. Products that are highly demanded by the chemical industry. One of the other biochemicals that CysBio works with is well-known from nature as an alternative to chemically produced pesticides to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus on surfaces of various kinds. Thus, CysBio expects to produce greener alternatives that can replace the use of harsh chemicals in many different market segments.
“We aim at becoming a leading provider of functional biochemical monomers and the partnership with a leading company like Zhejiang NHU will allow a fast market introduction of parts of this technology. Our strategy will clearly be to enables our technologies to be exploited quickly and effectively through R&D and commercial partnerships,” says Henrik Meyer, CEO and Co-founder of CysBio.
The Danish biotech company plans to get their first products on the market already at the beginning of 2020.
Future perspectives for pharma
Some of the key targets for the proprietary sulfation technology will be methods for improving the solubility and bioavailability of some existing drugs and nutraceuticals, thereby increasing the efficacy of the drugs.
“This will help in solving the problem of developing new pharmaceuticals, so we also see great potential in collaborating closely with partners in the pharma industry, “says Alex Toftgaard Nielsen.
Expands portfolio of products
For the stock listed Chinese chemical company, Zhejiang NHU, with global operations and subsidiaries in Europe, the seed investment in CysBio also opens up for exploring new opportunities in the market.
“We strongly believe the future of biotechnology. We have great strategic interests in expanding our biotechnology-based product portfolio by partnering with biotechnology companies. We look forward to assisting CysBio in their growth and further product development.” says Mr. Bai Fan Hu, Chairman of Zhejiang NHU.
Anders Osterby Moensted