It was a record-breaking BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotech as 1,200 participants from 35 countries attended the event in Montreal. Attendees of the world’s largest industrial biotechnology event for business leaders, investors and policy makers in biofuels, biobased products and renewable chemicals were treated to plenary and breakout sessions featuring key thought leaders, specialized workshops, clean tech investor sessions, BIO One-on-One business partnering meetings, a packed exhibit hall, networking receptions and more.
The final day of BIO’s 10th Annual World Congress kicked off with a morning plenary session, Biomanufacturing at Commercial Scale, where large scale chemical producers discussed their experiences in commercializing renewable chemicals. They delved into what steps major companies are taking to integrate biotech innovation into their platforms, what process technologies have achieved success in the commercial market thus far, how to access capital and how companies select a business model to participate in this sector.
Panel moderator Rick Eno, Metabolix President and CEO, told the audience that this year’s World Congress showed 20 percent year-over-year growth in number of attendees, calling it a leading indicator for the success of the industry and the various developments that are going on across the industry.
“We have seen some tremendous accomplishments just over this past year and these are things to celebrate,” said panelist Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “Think about these cellulosic ethanol facilities that are now going up – it bodes well for the future. I think there is great opportunity for this industry. It is only going to continue to grow, and it’s up to us to deliver going forward. All the potential is there, we just have to deliver and execute.”
A common theme of the panel and one we’ve heard throughout the week: Great partnerships are key to driving success and commercialization.
More news was made on the final day of the conference. Prairie Pulp & Paper Inc. announced its revolutionary copy paper, Step Forward Paper™, is now available in the United States at Staples. The paper is made up of 80 percent wheat-straw waste and 20 percent Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified wood fiber.
“Staples is excited to bring Step Forward Paper, a new alternative fiber product to consumers and businesses,” said Mark Buckley, Staples vice president of environmental affairs. “This award-winning paper is an easy and cost-effective way for consumers and businesses to conserve forests without sacrificing quality.”
Two-time Academy Award nominee and long-time environmental advocate Woody Harrelson is a co-founder and investor in Prairie Pulp & Paper Inc., which designed and produces Step Forward Paper. “Half of the world’s forests cut down are used to make paper,” said Harrelson. “Step Forward Paper is a real plus for the forest, it’s a real plus for the farmers, and it’s going to be great for our future.”
Throughout the duration of the conference, attendees were able to watch well-known Toronto street artist Dave Johnston paint a 3D mural of agriculture on canvas inside the convention center. Novozymes, a $2 billion global industrial biotech company and world leader in bio-innovation, hired Johnston to create the mural to depict the future of agriculture where we can grow more crops for food, feed, fuel, fiber and materials from less inputs with innovations in science.
It was quite an eventful, news-filled and educational week that also provided conference attendees with numerous networking and partnership opportunities to help continue building and driving the industrial biotech industry. We hope you’ll join us next year as the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology comes to Philadelphia, May 11-14, 2014.