We are always proud when mentioned in the press. Find a selection of articles below.
September-October 2014 issue
Barentzymes: Driven by the customer
Barentzymes AS is a Norwegian start-up company based in Tromsø, which is bringing to market new enzymes for industrial biotechnology applications. The company was recently founded by serial entrepreneur Jan Buch Andersen and private investor Sigurd Aase. Barentzymes’ start-up team consists of experts with extensive professional experience and networks. Nine of the 12 employees of Barentzymes have PhD degrees that cover a comprehensive list of research and commercial competences in research, technology, bioinformatics, development, innovation and commercialisation of enzymes. This new company has already attracted significant interest from international players in need of customer-tailored enzyme solutions.
Slapp amatørene til på laben
Delegasjonen fra Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet (NFD) spørrer og graver, mens Jan Buch Andersen, daglig leder for Barentzymes, svarer så godt han kan.
– Det vi skal gjøre i dag er å vise dem hvordan enzymer fungerer, forklarer Silje Steinsholm til journalisten. Hun skal fungere som veiviser for delegasjonen.
Omstilling og innovasjon
Steinsholm er nyeste tilskuddet i en hurtig voksende stab i bioteknologifirmaet. Siden de startet opp i mai har de vokst til 15 ansatte fordelt på Tromsø og København.
Delegasjonen fra NFD reiser land og strand rundt for å mer kjennskap til næringslivet med omstilling og innovasjon som nøkkelord. Etter at labfrakkene er behørig kneppet igjen er det på tide å sette i gang med arbeidet.
7. July, 2014
Customer-driven innovation for industrial enzymes market
Equipped with leading bioinformatics tools, advanced lab facilities and infrastructure, and a team of hugely experienced research scientists, Barentzymes has the potential to compete in the industrial enzyme market, on a global level.
The Arctic waters are known to display a high biodiversity, which is due to its extreme environment, leading to the development of unusual genetic traits to sustain life under such conditions.
Amid this harsh environment, the presence of Barents Biocentre Lab, the national marine biodiversity collection Marbank, and a strong marine bioprospecting research environment at the University of Tromsø, has formed a unique biotech milieu, allowing new biotechnology start-ups to flourish.
Jan Buch Andersen, the founder of Barentzymes, is a serial entrepreneur in the biotechnology industry, heading for a new challenge. Together with Sigurd Aase, a private Norwegian investor, Mr Andersen has just established a new company – Barentzymes AS – which is going to bring new enzymes for industrial biotechnology applications to the market. Without doubt, this is the most substantial start-up investment in biotechnology northern Norway has ever seen.
According to research by BCC, the industrial enzymes market is estimated to reach $4.4bn by 2015, and is in principle dominated by two key players, Novozymes and DuPont, who provide solutions primarily within biofuel and technical applications (such as detergents and washing powder). However, these two heavyweights largely disregard the potential that lies in bioprocessing of biological side streams. This is where Barentzymes comes into play, with an entirely fresh focus on the bio-degradation of biological resources and a business model based on meeting the customers’ needs.
24. May, 2014
Special Arctic DNA spurs high tech business
Enzymes, vital proteins that can be used industrially, are a growing business. A new company believes the cold waters of the Barents Sea could hold a tremendous variety of specialized enzymes that could function industrially in new ways.
In the freezing waters of the Barents Sea lies an invaluable resource, and it’s not oil.
It’s a resource that has actually evolved in the Arctic water as a direct result of its challenging environment, one that demands extreme toughness from its organisms.
Dr. Jan Buch Andersen and his team are busy exploiting the treasure encoded by DNA that only exists in the north.
“You need special enzymes to survive,” says Andersen, who just launched a company in Tromsø, Barentzymes, which specializes in finding and producing the enzymes only found in polar organisms.
Enzymes – specialized proteins that facilitate vital chemical reactions in cells – are becoming big business. Last year a German chemical company, BASF, acquired USenzyme firm Verenium for nearly €50 million. In 2012, the Dutch firm DMS purchased Cargill’s cultures and enzymes business for €85 million.
Humans have used the natural enzymes that break down plant material to make beer, wine, vinegar and paper for millennia. But that’s just the start.
Andersen envisions a world in which enzymes give humans the power to make biofuels – and to feed a growing population that’s currently living on less and less land as soil erodes and deserts grow.
“You can in principle increase food production twofold,” he says. That’s because much of the food we produce goes to waste. Enzymes can break that waste down into its basic components so that it can be recycled into useable products like animal feeds or food additives.
The key to the expanding role of enzymes in the bioeconomy is variety, and that’s where the Arctic comes in. It’s the Klondike of biological variation: an unexplored trove of useful genes, perfected over eons to be cold-active, pressure-active, or salt-active.
Big investment in enzymes
Had it not been for the Arctic climate and Barents Biocentre Lab, Barentzymes would not exist. Twelve employees from Norway and Denmark are today attending the opening of the head office in Tromsø.
The new enterprise Barentzymes started up on May 1 and with 12 highly qualified employees there is maximum effort right from day one.
The idea behind the company is to sell enzymes for industrial use. The world is full of residual waste and, by using enzymes, biological by-products may be converted into animal feed and not least food for human consumption.
The founder and Managing Director of Barentzymes, Jan Buch Andersen, says:
“We’re approaching nine billion people on earth by 2050. They want to live better and eat better than is the case today. We can not only rely on increased production from agriculture. Of today’s food production around half becomes biological waste. We need higher utilization of this raw material.”
“We’re thinking ahead to the oil-free society. We must find biological solutions for the challenges of the future. The bioeconomy will be absolutely crucial in the future.”
Fish waste becomes feed
Jan Buch Andersen describes a project that has just received funding from research and development programme MABIT. When fish viscera and waste is added to enzymes from bacteria extracted from dried and salted fish, the nutritious proteins may be separated and used for food and drink.
“We find enzymes in bacteria in the fish, and remove the genes and grow them. We don’t get enough enzymes from fish bacteria otherwise all the fish would be spoiled,” says Andersen.
The technique may be used industrially to make animal feed or, for instance, protein drinks. Barentzymes expects to have the results of this research available in six months.
7. May, 2014
Skal satse i et verdensmarked
Et unikt lab-senter bidrar til boom blandt gründere innen bioteknologi. Sist ut er Barentzymes som satser med verden som marked.
7. May, 2014
Malurt i det bioteknologiske begeret
Den nasjonale satsingen innen marin bioteknologi har i all hovedsak foregått i grunnforskningsmiljøene med begrenset tilgang på kompetent og risikovillig kapital. Er dette tilstrekkelig?
Den nasjonale satsingen innen marin bioteknologi har i all hovedsak foregått i grunnforskningsmiljøene med begrenset tilgang på kompetent og risikovillig kapital. Er dette tilstrekkelig for å fremme norske innovasjonsinteresser og behovet for nytt kunnskapsbasert næringsliv?
Det var en stor dag for satsingen på marin bioteknologi forrige onsdag da selskapet Barentzymes åpnet dørene sine i Forskningsparken i Tromsø. Barentzymes er en høyteknologisk oppstartbedrift med 12 ansatte som skal produsere industrielle enzymer for et internasjonalt marked. Det står respekt av arbeidet til de industrielle gründerne bak selskapet.
Det er ingen tilfeldighet at selskapet er lokalisert i Barents Biocentre i Forskningsparken i Tromsø. Gjennom mange års målrettet arbeid for bioteknologiske bedriftsetableringer, har innovasjonsmiljøet i Tromsø etablert et redskap i internasjonal særklasse. En viktig hjørnestein er tilgangen på moderne laboratorier gjennom Barents Biocentre. Dette viser at samhandling nær sterke fagmiljø skaper muligheter, men arbeidet med marin bioteknologisk næringsutvikling har også vist svakheter i det nasjonale forsknings- og innovasjonssystemet.
Det er enighet om at høykostlandet Norge sin konkurransekraft er basert på nye, smarte og effektive løsninger. I dag står små og mellomstore bedrifter for halvparten av den nasjonale verdiskapingen og sysselsetter 6 av 10 yrkesaktive. Gjennom investeringer i teknologi, næringsrettet forskning og innovasjonsvirkemidler, kan forskningsresultater i større grad tas i bruk av næringslivet og det offentlige. Som et eksempel har innovasjonsselskapet Norinnova i Tromsø bidratt til å etablere mer enn 80 bedrifter og 550 høyteknologiske arbeidsplasser i Nord-Norge.