Economic Aspects of Industrial Biotechnology

  • Gunter FestelEmail author
Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 173)


Industrial biotechnology is a key tool in the switch from a petro-based to a bio-based economy. For biotechnological processes to compete competitively in cost with chemical synthesis, the best available state-of-the-art technologies are necessary. In the last few years, industrial biotechnology has undergone fast technological development, resulting in a high number of basic technologies emanating from research efforts at universities and research institutions. Academic spin-offs have great importance in technological development because of their innovation from academic backgrounds. Technology transfer through spin-offs can help significantly in translating research at European universities and research institutions into commercial applications. More business oriented and experienced people, similar to founding or business angels, should join such new ventures to achieve successful realization of technology transfer.

Graphical Abstract


Biorenewables Industrial biotech Spin-off Start-up Technology transfer Venture capital 


  1. 1.
    EuropaBio (2003) White biotechnology: gateway to a more sustainable future. EuropaBio, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    SusChem (2005) Industrial or white biotechnology. SusChem, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hermann BG, Blok K, Patel MK (2007) Producing bio-based bulk chemicals using industrial biotechnology saves energy and combats climate change. Environ Sci Technol 41(22):7915–7921PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Coons R (2010) Industrial biotechnology. Chem Week 172(27):22–26Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fröhling M, Hiete M (2018) Sustainability and life cycle assessments in industrial biotechnology: a review of current approaches and future needs. In: Fröhling M, Hiete M (eds) Sustainability and life cycle assessment in industrial biotechnology. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    MacLean H, Saville B (2018) Environmental aspects of industrial biotechnology. In: Fröhling M, Hiete M (eds) Sustainability and life cycle assessment in industrial biotechnology. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Osseweijer P, Posada J, Asveld L (2018) Societal and ethical aspects of industrial biotechnology. In: Fröhling M, Hiete M (eds) Sustainability and life cycle assessment in industrial biotechnology. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Schürrle K (2018) History, current state and emerging applications of industrial biotechnology. In: Fröhling M, Hiete M (eds) Sustainability and life cycle assessment in industrial biotechnology. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Festel G (2010) Industrial biotechnology: market size, company types, business models, and growth strategies. Ind Biotechnol 6(2):88–94Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kircher M (2011) Industrial biotechnology becomes a key competitive factor. J Bus Chem 8(1):3–4Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nieuwenhuizen P, Lyon D (2010) Anticipating opportunities in industrial biotechnology: sizing the market and growth scenarios. J Commer Biotechnol 17(2):159–164Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Joint Research Centre (JRC) (2007) Consequences, opportunities and challenges of modern biotechnology for Europe. Joint Research Centre, SevillaGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    United States International Trade Commission (USITC) (2008) Industrial Biotechnology - Development and Adoption by the U.S. Chemical and Biofuel Industries, Investigation No. 332-481, USITC Publication 4020, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Festel G, Knöll J, Götz H (2004) Industrial biotech - influencing production. Chem Ind 7(5):21–22Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Festel G, Knöll J, Götz H, Zinke H (2004) Der Einfluss der Biotechnologie auf Pro-duktionsverfahren in der Chemieindustrie. Chemie Ingenieur Technik 76(3):307–312Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Festel G (2011) Drivers and barriers for industrial biotechnology. Int Sugar J 113(1345):19–23Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stahmann KP, Revuelta JL, Seulberger H (2000) Three biotechnical processes using Ashbya gossypii, Candida famata, or Bacillus subtilis compete with chemical riboflavin production. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 53(5):509–516PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pfefferle W, Möckel B, Bathe B, Marx A (2003) Biotechnological manufacture of lysine. Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol 79:59–112PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Otero JM, Cimini D, Patil KR, Poulsen SG, Olsson L, Nielsen J (2013) Industrial systems biology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae enables novel succinic acid cell factory. PLoS One 8(1):e54144PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Thakker C, Martínez I, San KY, Bennett GN (2017) Succinate production in Escherichia coli. Biotechnol J 7(2):213–224Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Biebl H, Menzel K, Zeng AP, Deckwer WD (1999) Microbial production of 1,3-propanediol. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 52(3):289–297PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Festel G (2016) Market structure and growth rates of industrial biorenewables. In: de Maria PD (ed) Industrial biorenewables: a practical viewpoint. Wiley, Hoboken, pp 245–254Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    OECD (2011) Future prospects for industrial biotechnology. OECD Publishing, ParisGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Festel G (2013) Catalyzing innovation – technology transfer models between industrial biotechnology companies and academic spin-offs. Ind Biotechnol 9(5):252–257Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Festel G (2013) Technology transfer by new ventures within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. J Bus Chem 10(3):115–130Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Festel G, Rittershaus P (2014) Fostering technology transfer in industrial biotechnology by academic spin-offs in Europe. J Commer Biotechnol 20(2):5–10Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Festel G (2013) Academic spin-offs, corporate spin-outs and company internal start-ups as technology transfer approach. J Technol Transfer 38(4):454–470Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Festel G, Rammer C (2015) Importance of venture capital investors for the industrial biotechnology industry. J Commer Biotechnol 21(2):31–42Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Festel G, Rammer C (2015) Fostering innovation in industrial biotechnology through venture capital investments. Ind Biotechnol 11(3):146–150Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Czarnitzki D, Rammer C, Toole A (2014) University spinoffs and the “performance premium”. Small Bus Econ 43(2):309–332Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Festel CapitalFuerigenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Technische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations