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Partnerships are the future of research

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A company like Novozymes always needs innovation and new ideas to stay one step ahead of tomorrow’s challenges. That is why Novozymes enters into partnerships with other companies.

Novozymes’ focus on accelerated growth means that we turned up the heat on research efforts in 2007. More than 13% of our total sales were invested in research and development in 2007.

At the same time, Novozymes is carrying out even more research in cooperation with external parties. In 2007, over 30% of the market-expanding research projects – projects aimed at developing new products or reaching out to new industries – were carried out in partnerships of various kinds.

The benefits of partnerships
One reason for this trend is that partnerships enable Novozymes to develop new products quickly. A business partner adds a unique insight into the final process or market where our products will be used. This allows us to consider all aspects of the development from the very start.

The trend is also due to the increasing number of enquiries Novozymes receives from companies who are becoming aware of our bioinnovation. For example, bioinnovation gives companies the opportunity to optimize their production, improve their products or reduce the impact on the environment.

Bioethanol partnerships
One of Novozymes’ most successful and innovative partnerships is with POET, an American bioethanol producer. The cooperation was based on developing an enzyme that could convert corn into bioethanol at a lower temperature and in a simpler process. This would allow POET to save energy and reduce the number of steps in the process compared with the usual methods. POET and Novozymes developed the enzyme in just over a year and the partnership has led to more new enzyme products, which POET now uses in production.

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Various types of partnerships
Novozymes has very different types of partnerships. In many research and development partnerships, Novozymes finances the development of a product that fulfils the partner’s needs – and when the right product is developed, the partner is obliged to buy it.

In other partnerships, the partners agree to share both the costs and benefits. And in a third kind, Novozymes is paid for developing a special product tailored to suit a partner’s specific needs, and when product development is finished, the rights are transferred to the partner.

Most Novozymes partnerships involve customers or technology partners, but we also have partnerships with other kinds of organizations, including educational institutions, NGOs and various interest groups.