Sumitomo Chemical has established a new organization, SynBio Hub, within the Biorational Research Center of Valent BioSciences LLC (VBC), a U.S. subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical in Illinois. By setting up this organization tasked to build technologies using synthetic biology in the U.S., a prolific site for innovative technologies in the field, the company will further accelerate its efforts to create next-generation businesses.
By merging synthetic biology with the chemical technologies it has cultivated over the years as a diversified chemical company, Sumitomo Chemical is developing highly functional products that cannot be manufactured by chemical synthesis alone, as well as highly efficient, clean, and energy-saving processes so that new businesses can be created. The company is actively investing in research and development in the field of synthetic biology, not only through its investment in Conagen and its partnership with Zymergen, but also through various initiatives with startups and academia.
In addition to open innovation, SynBio Hub will also collaborate with Sumitomo Chemical’s Corporate Venturing Innovation offices (CVI) — innovation exploration bases in the U.S. and Europe — and bases in Japan, such as the Bioscience Research Laboratory and the Industrial Technology & Research Laboratory, so that fundamental technologies based on synthetic biology can be rapidly built throughout the Sumitomo Chemical Group. The company will also embark on in-house research, including the development of producing strains and scale-up (chemical engineering) by making use of the technologies it has cultivated through its biorational business and the commercialization of chemicals. By accumulating technologies, expertise, and experience in synthetic biology through such research, the company will pursue synergies with the chemical technologies held by the Group.