Australian industrial biotechnology company MicroBioGen has opened its new laboratories in Macquarie Park in Sydney.
The laboratories will produce micro-organisms that are essential to industries worth over US$2 trillion per year, including biofuels, alternative proteins, space exploration, sustainable human foods and animal feed.
The facility was opened by the assistant minister for climate change and energy, Senator Jenny McAllister. Local member (Bennelong) Jerome Laxale also attended, along with around 80 of the company's partners and employees.
CEO Geoff Bell said, “The new laboratories will allow us to expand our research capabilities, putting MicroBioGen and Australia at the forefront of global biotech and sustainable innovation.
“By building a state-of-the-art facility we will attract and retain the brightest scientific minds to NSW, scientists who can help MicroBioGen advance its micro-organisms, especially in the areas of sustainability, biofuels, animal feed and alternative protein development.
“Exports currently make up 100 per cent of our revenues so it is essential that our facilities and our scientists are also the best in the world.”
MicroBioGen was spun out of Macquarie University in 2001. Its first commercial ethanol products entered the North American market in 2017 through a partnership with Danish industrial biotech giant Novozymes.
The new laboratories are twice the size of the company’s previous research space. It said the 1,250 square metre facility will enable it to double its scientific workforce to around 40 scientists including geneticists, and biofuel and baking specialists.
The dedicated R&D facility includes fermentation labs, a genetics lab and large preparation rooms, all equipped with the latest technology including robots, high-performance liquid chromatography and minus 80C˚ freezers.
MicroBioGen's head of research Dr Philip Bell said, “While we will continue to provide and improve superior yeast strains for the biofuels industry, our technology is highly adaptable and extends far beyond ethanol production. We have developed yeast strains that are ideal for human applications such as baking and baking ingredients. Our advanced technology, genetics expertise and collaborative spirit can also be brought into other industry partnerships to produce cutting-edge enzymes, biochemicals, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, animal feed, and even wine and beer.”
“It’s great to be here once again at MicroBioGen for the opening of their state-of-the-art laboratory facilities here in the heart of Macquarie Park." said local member Jerome Laxale.
"They truly are at the forefront of innovation, and their success is part of Australia’s success given that MicroBioGen earns all its revenue through exports. We know that companies such as MicroBioGen are so vital to employment growth locally in Bennelong and through export markets, they are keeping our nation prosperous not just now but also into the future."
MicroBioGen co-founder, principal scientist and director Dr Paul Attfield added, “We spun out of Macquarie University in 2001 and here we are in these new facilities just down the street from our original lab. Common yeast underpins about $2 trillion of industry value and that is what MicroBioGen is tapping into. For millennia it has been used to make beer and bread and more recently, to make insulin and vaccines. These and other diverse and valuable applications are coming directly out of these laboratories.”