The “multi-year” program to implement large-scale biotin production will require “considerable R&D resources”, the procurement of additional fermentation facilities throughout the EU, and involve current process resources to meet defined targets.
The team will harness Biosyntia’s proprietary microbial fermentation process to produce the product, which will be purified to meet broad industry specifications.
According to Wacker, the plan is to develop biotin as an ingredient to be used by customers to “make products more sustainable and healthier”, with the long-term goal of making natural biotin “broadly available in the market”.
Wacker Biosolutions, life science division President, Susanne Leonhartsberger commented: “With fermentation-based biotin, we want to offer customers a non-chemical, sustainable alternative that is produced in Europe.”
Biotin (or vitamin B7) is a co-enzyme for the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, and is associated with a number of health benefits, as defined by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
These include normal functioning of the nervous system and macronutrient metabolism, and the maintenance of normal skin and hair.
Estimates suggest the global market for biotin could reach €328m ($376m) by 2026, according to figures supplied, with an average 10% year on year growth.
Biotin is currently available as a dietary supplement but has a wide range of possible applications, in food & drink, infant nutrition, nutraceuticals, pet food, animal feed, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Biotin is generally produced synthetically from non-renewable petrochemicals but the fermentation process is sustainable and environmentally friendly, in terms of energy-consumption, its use of organic solvents, reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs), and low wastage.
Biosyntia CEO, Martin Plambech said: “Demand for more natural products is increasing – and with it the need for companies to use ingredients that are sustainable. Producing active ingredients from advanced fermentation is the future of production.”
Biosyntia’s technology platform,Biosynthetic Selections employs a fermentation process to develop active ingredients for the beauty and nutrition industries, such as BIO-B7 biotin.
The process is based on synthetic biology that assesses the growth parameters of micro-organisms against productivity, without the need for expensive equipment, and is easily scaleable and economical.
Wacker, meanwhile, has expertise in biotechnological process development and industrial-scale fermentation, as well as considerable knowledge on the regulatory requirements of the food and nutraceutical industries.
Wacker Biosolutions focuses on developing solutions for growth sectors, with products including pharmaceutical proteins, fermentation-based L-Cysteine and cyclodextrins, and silicone sealants from plant-based ethanol.
The company set new corporate sustainability goals at the end of last year and pledged to pursue specific projects and “measures to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030”, including ambitious plans to expansion sustainable products.
CEO Christian Hartel said that climate-friendly and resource-efficient products currently account for two-thirds of the group’s portfolio but as demand grows, he expects it to be one of the most important drivers of sales over the next year years.