21st.BIO unveils new pilot plant facility

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president of the European Commission, was onsite to inaugurate the pilot facility, along a hundred other guests from the financial, political, and bio industrial sectors
  • 21st.BIO has unveiled a new pilot plant facility in its Danish headquarters, designed to support companies upscale their bioproduction.  

21st.BIO provides services ranging from strain construction to industrial production upscaling to customers worldwide. Combining its offerings with fermentation technology, the company will help customers scale their products in risk-mitigated and cost-effective way. 

“In this industry, upscaling mistakes cost a lot of money and time,” explained Thomas Schmidt, co-founder and CEO at 21st.BIO. “For our customers, it’s all about getting the next step right. The ability to increase productivity when also moving up in scale is what distinguishes good from great.”

21st.BIO offers this pilot facility to the market to facilitate and accelerate the step between internal lab-scale fermentation and large-scale production. 21st.BIO will support customers in defining the parameters and equipment needed to optimise large-scale production of proteins via fermentation. This will, on top of the best fermentation protocols, help customers select the best CMO for individual project needs and limit the risk of costly failures. 

The facility and all processing equipment are designed for 21st.BIO.  

“Our goal with this pilot was to build a mini factory, to best prepare customers for large scale industrial production. We therefore wanted the process equipment to mimic what customers will find in their next step with large-scale biomanufacturing – only downsized to a pilot scale,” explained Thorvald Ullum, CTO at 21st.BIO. “Our customers work alongside our experts in the pilot plant to test various process aspects as well as build skills and confidence for their own large-scale production.”

With over 3000 litres of fermentation capacity, the facility offers a range of capabilities, equipment, and competences. The pilot plant is focused on scaling up the production of recombinant proteins and peptides with applications in nutrition, food and beverages, agriculture, biomaterials, and biopharma.  

The pilot plant is designed to enable strong collaboration between 21st.BIO and customer teams during scaling. It is also strategically located in the same building as the company’s strain development laboratories, allowing for joint work on further improving the customers’ production strains and fermentation processes. 

The global race for biosolutions

Home to precision fermentation pioneers such as Novo Nordisk and Novonesis, Denmark is a natural leader in bioproduction. According to a McKinsey report, it is estimated that about 60% of the input to the global economy could over time be produced using biology. In light this potential, many countries are investing massively in biomanufacturing technology to produce high quality nutrition and biomaterials locally in a time of climate and geo-political uncertainties.