Exclusive interview

Teaming up in biotech, with Genomatica and Daicel

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Teaming up in biotech, with Genomatica and Daicel
Following our conversations with bioengineering company, Genomatica, we caught up with its Japanese partner, Daicel, to discuss the driving forces behind biotech in Japan and further afield in Asia-Pacific.

1. When did Genomatica and Daicel first partner? 

Daicel contacted Genomatica almost two years ago to discuss a potential business partnership for the company’s naturally sourced, sustainably produced butylene glycol, Brontide. 

2. How did this partnership come about?

We were looking to enhance our product portfolio with a natural-based product that could be added to traditional butylene glycol.

To support this strategy, Daicel set out to collaborate with an existing manufacturer and technology developer in the butylene glycol market.

As a recognised leader in bioengineering of biobased process technologies, Genomatica seemed to be a natural fit.  

3. What values do you share?

Daicel and Genomatica share experience in the production of butylene glycol, production management excellence and marketing expertise as well as a strong commitment to quality.

4. What are the similarities between how you approach the cosmetics world and production? 

Daicel has a long history of producing and marketing 1,3 butylene glycol. Therefore, we have seen almost no change to our approach in the market except the appeal of 'bio-based'.

5. What benefits does Daicel bring to enabling Genomatica to reach an APAC audience, and what do you bring in return? 

Daicel holds the number one position in Asia Pacific’s 1,3 butylene glycol industry. Customers in Asia are very diverse, so a deep understanding of this market and its customers is critical when selling to this region.

Daicel’s extensive industry knowledge, strong customer relationships and almost 100 years of experience serving the Asian market will significantly expand Genomatica’s ability to respond to the needs of local customers for its naturally sourced, sustainably produced butylene glycol product.

6. What are your individual roles in bringing biotechnology to the APAC beauty industry?

Through our partnership, Daicel can help Genomatica expand its presence in Asia by providing insight on the regional differences associated with this market.

For example, customers in European and US markets are looking for “natural based products”,​ while customers in Asia – especially those in East Asia – are seeking “natural based products with the same high quality that they currently experience”, ​with less of an odour. Genomatica’s Brontide product will enable us to help manufacturers in Asia create natural products more easily while addressing both regional and global trends.

7. What does the biotech industry look like in Japan?

The biotech market is much more advanced in the US than Japan. This is due to Asia’s strong focus on high-value products that deliver quality and performance.

Some of the bigger Japanese chemical companies are encouraging the market to actively commit to creating a more sustainable future, but this market is still learning how to make a positive impact.

8. What are the key trends driving it?

In the cosmetics market, consumers seek natural-based products. This is the result of increased consumer awareness relating to health and wellness.

To deliver these products to consumers, however, costs must be reasonably pricing based on value, and quality must be consistent – from biotechnology to production.  

9. Is biotech in Japan currently in a rapid growth period?

Biotech will be an important part of Japanese industry, however, there is still room for growth in this area.

10. How does this compare to the rest of Asia? 

When it comes to biotechnology, the Asia market typically follows trends in the US and Europe. Several companies make trends themselves but most are followers of leading manufacturers in Europe or America. Therefore, we do not anticipate a big difference between Japan and the rest of Asia.

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