Babette Pettersen (BioAmber) to speak at ‘From bugs to business: Unlocking the Bioeconomy in Europe’
Biobased Chemicals for an Alternative Future – Babette Pettersen, Chief Commercial Officer at BioAmber
In Europe, the market potential for biobased chemical building blocks is significant due to consumer awareness and their preference for sustainable solutions. However, it seems less clear if Europe is seen as a suitable location for the production of these biobased chemicals. Babette Pettersen explains:
“Europe is not ideal for commercial production as a result of high energy and feedstock prices, and the limited availability of government funds for commercial scale up. It is based on these three criteria that we have ultimately chosen to build our commercial scale plant in Canada”.
Nevertheless, Europe provides excellent opportunities for research to piloting and demonstration activities. BioAmber’s business model has been one of open innovation and partnerships from the start. BioAmber licensed their first generation E.Coli technology, to produce bio-based succinic acid from the Department of Energy (DOE) in the US, and with Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) of France, to demonstrate this technology at pilot scale.
“Partnerships and Open innovation platforms are critical for the success of small emerging enterprises in the bioeconomy,because they provide the opportunity to prove out the technology, demonstrate scalability and validate market interest and need. Such partnerships are invaluable, as they enable SMEs to move fast, reduce cash burn and accelerate time to market and to money“.
With initial VC funding from Europe, BioAmber had to turn to the public markets for the significantly increased funding requirements for building a commercial scale plant. BioAmber went public in 2013 and jointly filed on the NYSE and Euronext. With a successful IPO, and Canadian government loans, BioAmber is building a 30,000MT plant for bio succinic acid in Sarnia, Canada, that will come online this year. So, while early stage funding through demonstration scale came from Europe, funding for commercial scale-up came mainly from the US and Canada.
“One can therefore not say that Europeans are investment-averse. It is more the scarcity of capital to fund late-stage scale-up and commercialization in Europe, and the fact that EU governments are not stepping up to provide loans and other forms of funding assistance to help attract investment in commercial scale projects; at this stage of SME’s, it is the public investments which are lacking in Europe”.
Do not miss the launch of the BIO-TIC action plan for overcoming hurdles to industrial biotechnology in Europe and driving a smart and sustainable (bio)economy in Europe. Join the final policy-maker conference entitled “From bugs to business: Unlocking the Bioeconomy in Europe” on 23rd June 2015 at KVAB (Flemish Academy for Science and the Arts), Brussels. Register now at www.bio-tic-conference.eu . Follow the conference news on twitter via #bioeconomy4EU.
BioAmber (NYSE: BIOA) is an industrial biotechnology company producing sustainable chemicals. Its proprietary technology platform combines industrial biotechnology and chemical catalysis to convert renewable feedstock into sustainable chemicals for use in a wide variety of everyday products including plastics, paints, food additives and personal care products. For more information visit www.bio-amber.com
Babette Pettersen is the Chief Commercial Officer for BioAmber Inc., a market leader in biobased succinic acid and a pioneer in renewable chemicals. Babette was previously VP New Business Development for Performance Materials at Royal DSM. Prior to DSM, Babette was leading Marketing & Business Development in several Dow Corning Industry Groups, from Personal Care to Electronics, and in the corporate Business & Technology Incubator. Babette started her career in the Healthcare Industry, at Baxter Travenol.
Babette has a BSc in Biology from Wellesley College in Massachusetts, USA and an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. She is a member of the EFIB (European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology) Advisory Board, Club L, Women’s Professional network, Women on Board, and 20-first, dedicated to exploring the economic power and potential of a more gender-balanced business world.