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Sumitomo Chemical launches SynBio Hub

Shortly after handing over responsibility for biorational-related business to its Valent BioSciences (VBC) subsidiary in Illinois, Sumitomo Chemical has announced plans to establish SynBio Hub within its Biorational Research Centre. This is all part of the firm’s plans to build technologies using synthetic biology.

“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,” the company stated.

(Sumitomo Chemical defines biorationals as products and microbes derived from natural sources or natural products themselves, such as microbial pesticides, plant growth regulators and microbes that improve soil health.)

SynBio Hub will carry out open innovation and collaborate with the corporate venturing innovation offices in the US and Europe, and its bases in Japan, to bring on technologies based on synthetic biology. It will also conduct in-house research, including the development of producing strains and scale-up using technologies developed via the biorational business and the commercialisation of chemicals.

In October, Sumitomo Chemical realigned its group subsidiaries in the US. As part of having VBC direct all the business functions around biorationals, it appointed a new COO to oversee a Sustainable Solutions business unit and direct sales in all regions. The company currently has six new biorationals that it expects to launch in 2022 or later, subject to approval.

Earlier, in August, Sumitomo Chemical had opened a new R&D facility for conventional crop protection products at in San Ramon, California. This is the US headquarters of Valent, its crop protection business, and the new site integrates a number of operations hitherto scattered around Northern California.

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