Novozymes awarded for animal-free innovation

By Emilie Reymond

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Biotechnology Animal rights Animal testing

Danish firm Novozymes has been honoured by animal rights
organisation PETA for its efforts to provide animal-free
bioprocessing methods aimed at cutting animal testing during drug
development.

The firm was granted the Proggy award for Best Innovation, which is handed out each year by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), for its work in developing test methods so that experiments on animals can be avoided.

"In recent years Novozymes has invested considerable resources in developing in vitro methods that can reduce the number of animal experiments," Dr Erwin Roggen, a senior researcher at Novozymes.

"The advantage is that we avoid using animals and remove the uncertainties that are associated with animal experiments.

It is also cheaper, quicker and more ethical."

The firm recently launched its first range of animal-free recombinant cell culture ingredients from its new business unit in the UK, offering biopharma companies an alternative to traditional serum-based production methods.

Through its Biopharmaceutical Ingredients business, Novozymes last May launched the first three products in the range: the recombinant human insulin-like growth factor, LR3; DeltaFerrin, the first recombinant human (holo) transferrin; and animal-free recombinant versions of serum protein albumin.

The new products have all been developed through a combination of in-house research and the addition of expertise from recent acquisitions in the form of Delta Biotechnology (albumin experts) and GroPep, who contributed LR3.

With more products due to be added to the range over time, the strategic moves by Novozymes in this area look to be paying off already, taking advantage of the trend in the industry towards biopharmaceuticals and animal constituent free ingredients.

According to the company's financial results for the first quarter of this year released recently, the biopharmaceutical ingredients business is thriving, with sales hitting around €16m compared to just €3m for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Novozymes also revealed last week the acquisition of Indian firm Biocon's enzyme business for DDK551m (€74m) in a bid to boost its position in India.

The two companies have a long-term relationship and the transaction is expected to be completed in October.

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