Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, opened a new state-of-the-art biotechnology facility at its site in Delft to accelerate DSM’s biotechnology research and development capabilities for applications in food and nutrition, feed, fuel, pharma and bio-based materials. The completion of this new biotechnology center is part of a €100 million investment program by DSM to scale up R&D in the Netherlands since 2013. The center, which offers the broadest range of biotechnology specializations under one DSM roof, clusters innovation, housing over 400 research and developments experts and builds on a solid history of nearly 150 years of fermentation and biotechnology innovation in Delft, the Netherlands.
The new Biotechnology Center is a further step in the development of the site in Delft, where DSM Food Specialties has its global headquarters. DSM has expanded the site in Delft over the years, including building a large, modern food and application center. DSM has also invested together with other industry players in a state-of-the-art biotech fermentation pilot plant on the Delft site. The Delft site is furthermore an important location for a number of industrial productions such as antibiotic intermediates and yeast extracts and flavors.
Feike Sijbesma, CEO/Chairman of the DSM Managing Board, commented; “DSM’s new Biotechnology Center is where our scientists create solutions for societal challenges such as the need to provide all people globally with nutritious food, as well as enabling the transformation from a fossil-based to a bio-renewable-based society.The DSM Biotechnology Center facilitates these needs, in an innovative environment and at an historic location in Delft where we build on nearly 150 years of scientific, academic and commercial activities.”
It all started with the Nederlandsche Gist en Spiritusfabriek (Dutch Yeast and Spirits factory) in 1869. Since then, many innovations developed at the site in Delft have found their way into society including: a production strain and process for the large-scale production of penicillin which has saved millions of lives since World War II; a natural antifungal food preservative (Natamycin) which is widely used to protect a variety of foods and beverages from spoilage; and enzymes, which among other things enable the many millions of people worldwide with a lactose intolerance to include nutritious dairy in their diets. DSM’s science is also behind the next generation of sustainable biofuels where the company’s conversion technologies, yeast and enzymes, convert non-food cellulosic biomass into ethanol.
Innovations currently under development in the new biotechnology center include the production of fermentative steviol glycosides - the reduced-calorie, sweet-tasting molecules in the Stevia plant - as an answer to the growing global demand for sugar-reduced food and beverages. DSM’s fermentation know-how helps meet this global growing demand for steviol glycosides of a high purity and reliable quality that are sustainably produced. Also, DSM scientists in the biotech center have developed a new technology that turns an inedible agricultural by-product of rapeseed, or canola, into valuable plant protein for a wide range of uses in food. These ‘proteins of the future’ address the increasing demand for protein globally.
The variety of specializations in DSM’s biotechnology center makes it a magnet for talent. The new center employs 400 bright scientists from 27 nationalities. The biotechnology center is at the heart of the Biotech Campus Delft. Biotech Campus Delft is an initiative of DSM Delft, Delft University of Technology, the City of Delft and the Province of South Holland and builds on Delft’s existing competences and internationally recognized position as a world leader in biotechnology development.
DSM’s Biotechnology Center will be named the Rosalind Franklin Biotechnology Center in honor of pioneering scientist Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958), whose extraordinary work during a tragically short life and career significantly contributed to our understanding of the structure of DNA, effectively creating the basis for modern biotechnology. By honoring Rosalind Franklin, DSM pays tribute to all female heroes of science.
The official opening of the center will be performed by Louise Fresco (President Wageningen Agriculture University), Ilona Haaijer (President DSM Food Specialties) and Feike Sijbesma.