Expanding enzyme business

Looking to expand both its product pipeline and geographic scope, bioproduction specialist Novozymes

Randall C Willis
FRANKLINTON, N.C.—Looking to expand both its product pipeline and geographic scope, bioproduction specialist Novozymes announced it would acquire the enzyme properties of Bangalore, India-based Biocon Ltd. for $115 million, integrating the operations into its wholly owned subsidiary Novozymes South Asia Pvt. Ltd. The price includes $97 million up front, $5 million in milestone payments, and $13 million in committed service fees and lease payments paid over a possible 10-year period.
 
"The acquisition of Biocon's enzyme activities provides an important step for Novozymes in strengthening our position on the Indian market, which we believe has an attractive growth potential," says Novozymes CEO Steen Riisgaard. "We see several interesting market opportunities combined with synergy potential, making this a very interesting acquisition."
 
The market for industrial enzymes has experienced slow but steady growth over the last decade or so. With the increased interest in biologics in the pharmaceutical arena, however, this market could see a dramatic upturn in the near future, as companies try to find ways to efficiently modify therapeutic proteins and other biomolecules with constituents like sugars and lipids.
 
Case in point, the Novozyme deal came one day after Biocon signed an exclusive agreement with Invitrogen to supply pharmaceutical-grade insulin to the global cell culture market. Biocon processes the therapeutic protein with porcine trypsin to avoid concerns over BSE transmission.
 
Similarly, the day after the Novozymes/Biocon announcement, biocatalysis specialist Codexis announced it would acquire fellow Californians BioCatalytics for an undisclosed sum. According to Alan Shaw, Codexis president and CEO, the move helps the companies bring "the power of clean biobased manufacturing technology to customers seeking alternatives to undesirable or unsustainable chemical processes."

Randall C Willis

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