DSM enters algae alliance
12.10.2012 - Dutch Royal DSM collaborates with a Sanofi subsidiary to stretch ist algal expression system into animal health vaccine production.
This strategic alliance could change the established ways of vaccine production. DSM Nutritional Product, a subsidiary of Dutch Royal DSM N.V., has announced a Development and Option to License Agreement with animal health specialist Merial Limited, part of the US-subsidiary of French Sanofi S.A. The partners want to bring together their expertise to produce animal health vaccines in DSM’s proprietary algal expression system. Compared to existing techniques based on eggs or cell cultures, the new platform could present a faster and more efficient production method. Financial details were not disclosed. It is known, however, that Merial will provide R&D funding to value DSM’s research efforts. DSM would also be eligible to receive milestone payments, license fees and royalties on sales of a successfully launched product.
Almost two years ago Royal DSM acquired Martek Biosciences Corporation from Columbia (Maryland, USA) in a billion dollar deal. This marked DSM’s transformation into a life sciences and materials sciences company. In Columbia omega-3- and omega-6-products are produced by algae. Former Martek CEO Peter Nitze, now President of the Nutritional Lipids division of DSM Nutritional Products, welcomes the expansion of the algae-production portfolio: „We are pleased to join Merial on this important project that we expect will validate the algal expression system as a viable alternative to known vaccine production methods.“ DSM is better known as a global player in biofuel production. The company hit the news earlier this year when it announced the start of a joint venture with US-ethanol producer POET, LLC.