The cluster succeeded in securing Mark Warner as a speaker at the thirteenth BioEconomy BusinessTreff “Biotechnology – an opportunity for Central Germany?” which took place at the Francke Foundations in Halle. Mr. Warner is an expert in the commercialization of bioeconomy/biotechnology companies and has assisted more than 40 U.S. biotechnology companies in industrializing. His view of the bigger picture and his comparisons with Europe provided the perfect opportunity to learn from his experience in the biotechnology world and to derive potential recommended courses of action for us.
As an expert on the commercialization of bioeconomy companies and related capital flows (https://warneradvisorsllc.com/mark-warner), Warner’s exclusive insights gave us an excellent overview of the bioeconomy trends, opportunities for industrial biotechnology and innovative biotechnological processes, and the opportunities for Central Germany arising from this.
The topics “new food alternatives and protein/meat substitutes” are currently of particular interest to investors and there is large-scale funding available for upscaling projects. The U.S. is particularly strong in the areas of synthetic biology, investment funding and entrepreneurship. There is a need to improve the traditional chemical industry and to consider its linkage with biotechnology, commercialization and upscaling early on rather than just pure research. This aspect is particularly pertinent for Germany and the European Union and we need to utilize and pitch our very good manufacturing background.
Professor Zscheile, Cluster Manager of the BioEconomy Network, picked up on this, explaining there was a lot of pioneering work to be done in the area of the bioeconomy. The quality of renewable raw materials is not always consistent and the necessary capital for upscaling or entering the market is lacking or cannot be tied up for a long period of time. In this respect one of the only solutions is to attract large brands/producers to act as pioneers, something which the BioEconomy Cluster has been working on for many years.
Dr. Franziska Krüger, Head of the Department of Structural Change in the Central German Region at Saxony-Anhalt’s Ministry of Culture also gave insights into the current process of structural enhancement of the Central German region and the transformation process implemented after the movement away from lignite coal, which has been underpinned by the Structural Strengthening Act for Coal Regions. This would create opportunities for new industries, ideas and innovations, e.g. in biotechnology/bioeconomics, which need to be implemented during this period.
Before everyone else joined in the lively discussion, Dr. Katzberg from EW Biotech GmbH in Leuna lent his support to the region. In Europe, the systems for upscaling are better positioned and more utilizable than in the U.S., so we should develop this and taken more advantage of it. The bulk of EW Biotech customers are located in the U.S. After successful upscaling, there is opportunity to erect plants directly in the region, promote the settlement of international companies, retain start-ups, and provide these with a single source of support in their commercialization process. This is precisely what the BioEconomy Cluster regards as one of its strengths. Sharing and imparting existing knowhow (knowledge, technology, plants, etc.), for example, through its member EW Biotech, can be real added value and a hotspot for the region.