Provectus Algae, an Australia-based, photosynthetic biomanufacturer of specialty ingredients for an array of industries and applications, has announced the appointment of Guillaume Barbier, PhD as its vice-president of research and development. Barbier has more than 15 years of experience in the sector with a track record of building and leading teams and programmes.
He joins Provectus from Ginkgo Bioworks, specialists in using genetic engineering to produce microbes with industrial applications, where he was senior technical director. Before that, Barbier was senior programme director for microbial nitrogen fixation at Joyn Bio, a joint biosustainability venture between Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks that developed plant probiotics.
He has extensive expertise in synthetic biology, protein engineering and purification, metabolic engineering, fermentation, and high throughput project design. As a team leader, Barbier strongly emphasises mentorship and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). He also has more than six patents in the field of protein and metabolic engineering.
“I am excited to take on this role at Provectus Algae. Provectus’ consistent focus on ensuring its platform operates from discovery through commercialisation resonates with where I think the synbio field must head. In addition to having big ideas, synbio companies need to think more strategically and deliberately about how they deliver value to society. Provectus understands that for its sustainable biomanufacturing platform to make a difference in the world, it must routinely deliver functional bioproducts where they’re needed.” said Barbier.
“Guillaume’s approach emphasises the use of digital and synthetic biology tools to create effective, pragmatic solutions for the future sustainability needs of the world’s industries. Having someone of his experience join Provectus reinforces the organization’s commitment to looking beyond traditional synbio approaches. Many biotech firms get caught up in the excitement and promise of their synbio platforms instead of establishing a clear path to market from the outset. Having Guillaume head up our R&D strengthens our resolve to become the world’s most sustainable biomanufacturer,” said Nusqe Spanton, founder and CEO of Provectus Algae.
Synbio organisations often herald their discovery platforms as their value generator. However, once they reach late-stage product development and commercial manufacturing, these companies often run into trouble. Typically, at this point, investors realise that not nearly enough attention was placed on developing end-to-end technologies and solutions required for reaching a commercially viable product and market entry.
“Provectus remains focused on building a complete product pipeline and identifying how to get our customers’ products to the market fast. It is as much about knowing when to optimise as it is about putting the skills in place to adapt technology applications for customers and their products. With Barbier helping the organisation drive this, we can accelerate our efforts and continue to expand on our value proposition,” said Spanton.