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Technology Challenges and Opportunities in Commercializing Industrial Biotechnology
September 28, 2015 - September 29, 2015
The Society for Biological Engineers (SBE), a subsidiary of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), is organizing a new workshop titled “Technology Challenges and Opportunities in Commercializing Industrial Biotechnology,” where engineers, scientists, and other stakeholders in business and industry will discuss the latest wave of opportunities that have emerged from the biotechnology revolution.
The workshop will convene at the Bahia Hotel in San Diego, California, on Sept. 28–29 and will highlight commercial opportunities and technical challenges in the developing field of industrial biotechnology.
At the two-day event, technology experts and business leaders in the chemicals, biotechnology, and energy arenas will gather with researchers and representatives from government and investment companies to discuss the techniques, economics, engineering design, and international perspectives involved in industrial biotechnology. The event will integrate technical information with economic analyses, providing insight into industrial biotechnology as a means of manufacturing and effectively marketing fuels, chemicals, and a range of new products. Jeff Lievense, executive vice president for Process Technology at Genomatica, a San Diego-based biotech company, and Brian Davison, chief scientist for Systems Biology and Biotechnology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, will co-chair the event.
“This workshop offers a deep dive into the science and engineering of commercializing industrial biotechnology,” says workshop co-chair Lievense. “Attendees will learn about technology best practices, feedstock choices, and real economics, and hear first-hand case studies that show how bioprocesses work, predictably and at scale — all presented by people who have done the work successfully.”
Setting the stage for the discussions to follow, the workshop’s opening keynote speeches on Sept. 28 will be given by Doug Cameron, co-president and director of First Green Partners, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company that leverages advances in science and technology applied to agriculture, and Geoff Duyk, partner and managing director of TPG Biotech, a developer of alternative and renewable technologies.
Industrial biotechnology involves working with living cells to optimize biochemical pathways for use in manufacturing a variety of products, and is one of the most promising approaches to pollution prevention, resource conservation and energy production. The emergence of industrial biotechnology as a growth area stems from a series of related developments in cell-based biology, including genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and metabolic engineering.
The global industrial biotechnology market is already large, amounting to about $150 billion in annual sales. Developed to its full potential, industrial biotechnology and its products may have enormous impacts on world health and energy production, offering businesses ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs while protecting the environment. In addition, the new products generated by applications of biotechnology on the industrial scale may open doors to unprecedented commercial opportunities.
The launch of the Technology Challenges and Opportunities in Commercializing Industrial Biotechnology workshop is timely, Lievense notes, because the modern practice of industrial biotechnology is relatively new, and its benefits are still not yet fully understood by industry, policymakers, investors and consumers. The workshop will increase collaborations among those very thought-leaders and participants, including investors — which is a necessary step for the continued growth and success of industrial biotechnology.