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29th February 2024  Content supplied by: Synonym Biotechnologies, Inc.

Breaking the Cost Barrier on Biomanufacturing

  • Production capacity and cost are main hurdles to unlocking a large-scale biomanufacturing boom, with a $200 billion speciality market a conservative estimate if expansion model achieved.
  • Creation of multi-function fermentation facilities represents an ‘enormous opportunity for infrastructure investment’ that will de-risk sector and enable industrial-scale production of superior food, materials, chemicals, and more—but only with immediate investment.
  • A single biofoundry would have more capacity than available currently globally at some 2 million liters each; visionary roadmap suggests 1,000 such facilities worldwide with a combined capacity of 2.4 billion liters.

Synonym, a biomanufacturing infrastructure company, is unlocking the market forces to enable a quickly-maturing multi-hundred billion dollar sector—which will “allow biomanufacturing [to] finally fulfill its promise of achieving commercial scale.”  

So says a new report by leading global consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) (coauthored by Synonym), entitled Breaking the Cost Barrier on Biomanufacturing. Written both by BCG’s team of industry experts and members of Synonym’s capital markets and engineering teams, the report analyzes opportunities that would enable the sector to deliver bioproducts economically for mass adoption—and in the process, create a rich asset class for real estate investors. Chief amongst these is the development of biofoundries: large standardized fermentation facilities that offer the economies of scale to break the cost inertia currently facing the sector.  

 “Synthetic biology promises, to paraphrase the old slogan, better living—better stuff—through biology,” says Synonym co-founder Joshua Lachter. “Synonym imagines a world where these products are ubiquitous in our daily lives, and this report examines how that potential can translate to the realities of industrial production. The science is there, and products are transformational; it’s now a question of companies having the courage to invest in the capacity to bring bioproducts to market and educate consumers to increase adoption.”

Biomanufacturing’s success will be accelerated by an industrial environment facing stark sustainability realities. More than 4,100 of the world’s largest companies have now set transition goals in line with the 1.5°C goals of the Paris Agreement, with many nations continuing to pledge a move away from fossil-fuel-facilitated manufacturing methods. Utilizing low-carbon processes and ingredients as a superior substitute for established methods, biomanufacturing offers a clear benefit to companies striving to reach those targets. In the US, President Joe Biden has committed to 30% of the US chemical demand to utilize biomanufacturing pathways by 2043.

The nascent $200 billion market identified in the new report is conservative, and solely for precision fermentation with applications in the speciality chemicals, chemical precursors, and food markets. And while others have predicted a larger near-term multi-trillion dollar market for the global bioeconomy, this report focuses on rapid and achievable market targets with a detailed pathway to market. The authors underscore this is only attainable if biomanufacturing capacity is scaled to twenty times its current size of around 50 million liters globally, requiring potential investors to move immediately.

Our findings offer fascinating clarity on the pathway to non-pharma commercial biomanufacturing in the short term,” says Jean-François Bobier, Partner, Deep Tech, at the Boston Consulting Group and a lead author of the report. “While our figures appear conservative compared to some analyses, the biofoundry model detailed by Synonym offers a clear route primed for robust investment immediately.”

Bobier adds: “Biomanufacturing has been full of promises since human insulin production four decades ago—but it has still yet to scale beyond pharma and specialty chemicals. The industry is facing a catch 22 situation: latent demand needs lower costs, which require large scale—which requires firm demand.”

Enabling large-scale production through infrastructure investment is the opportunity Synonym seeks to capture. Synonym provides companies with a suite of industry-leading tools and services to scale bioproducts, as well as development and financial services to companies building biofoundries. In addition, the company matches companies to existing production facilities using two proprietary tools—Capacitor and Scaler. These provide, respectively, a directory of global fermentation capacity, and a dynamic modeling tool for companies to rapidly assess the financial performance and environmental impact of their bioproducts.

We need biology to deliver our next generation of superior materials," adds Joshua Lachter. “Now is the time for investors to seed the infrastructure needed for this future—a future promising better stuff that’s also better for our planet and our own health. Our goal is helping companies understand how to produce, and where to produce—and getting these bioproducts into supply chains around the world.”

The report can be downloaded here.



Date Published: 29th February 2024

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