Genencor Wants a Challenge

A new partnering program could help Genencor, and you
| November 21, 2011

A new partnership program recently launched by Genencor aims to help the protein and enzyme giant “establish something that hasn’t been here before,” according to Stan Mainzer, vice president of business development. That “thing” Mainzer refers to can be anything, as long as it involves water, energy or air. Mainzer explained the idea behind that partnering program, GNext, and what it might mean for his company and those that are fortunate enough to partner.

“GNext is an open innovation platform that offers Genencor a route to expand into fields of air, water and energy—a few of the major societal needs of the 21st century,” he says. To do so, Mainzer and his team are looking for big, medium or even startup companies “that have truly breakthrough or disruptive solutions.” Those companies from his estimations will be in need of Genencor’s suite of services, which include discovery, engineering, scale-up and distribution of enzymes, proteins or microorganisms used for industrial applications.

As an example of a company that Genencor has already worked with through the GNext concept, Mainzer points to DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol, which used Genencor’s enzyme technology to produce fermentable sugars at a competitive price point on a commercial scale. The work of Genencor with DuPont has led the joint-venture to Nevada, Iowa, where a 27 MMgy cellulosic ethanol facility is scheduled to break ground in 2012. But projects on that scale aren’t the only kinds the GNext platform will take on.

“We are currently working with several startups that require a protein or enzyme as a key element of their development. These companies, for example,” he says, “discovered that engineering, scale-up and supply of enzymes or proteins is beyond their expertise or capabilities and appreciate Genencor’s reliability and competency in providing the needed technology.”

For Mainzer and his GNext team, the goal for the future is simple: “Develop a portfolio of partner companies who are developing solutions to the big societal needs in the areas of air, water and energy.” Why? “We’ve learned that close collaboration or partnership drives success more easily than attempting these challenges alone,” he says. “Finding the right partner with a shared vision, the complimentary experience and the desire to win are a few keys to success.”

Although the idea in the bioenergy world that the most efficient and economical approach to making a project reach commercialization is through a partnership, Mainzer also puts it very bluntly. “We are looking for people with ideas from the outside to challenge us.” To contact the GNext team, visit Genencor’s GNext webpage. 

—Luke Geiver