As the world tips further into recession and companies tighten their belts and shed staff, any ray of business optimism is welcome news. One such positive piece of news is reported by Danish professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer), which sees so-called "white biotech" as a new biotech cluster waiting to blossom in Denmark as sustainability becomes an increasingly important item on the world's agenda.
White biotech essentially means industrial, rather than medical biotechnology, examples being enzymes for the production of biofuel, biochemicals for new kinds of plastics and ingredients for functional foods.
Denmark is already in a strong position in industrial biotech with thousands employed in leading companies like Novozymes, Danisco and Chr. Hansen, while Danish universities have hundreds of skilled researchers working in this area.
With a strong reputation for collaboration between commerce and academia, Denmark is good at creating spin-off companies to develop promising products, and has the necessary labour pool of relevantly skilled staff. And the investment community is well aware of this fact.
"White biotech has the potential to become really big in Denmark, and it will come because the expertise and the need is here," Novozymes' research director Per Falholt told Ingeniøren. "In the US there is already an underbrush of start-ups, and we will also see several here because we have the necessary driving force in the form of a highly competent research cluster in this area."