Enzyme acquisition raises Novozymes' profile in India
increased its presence in the Indian market by completing this week
the acquisition of the enzyme activities of Bangalore-based Biocon
Biocon signed the agreement to divest its enzymes business to Novozymes for $115m (€83.4m) in July, enabling Biocon to strategically focus more on its core bio-pharmaceuticals business. The acquisition was subject to shareholders' consent and approval by the relevant Indian regulatory bodies, which have now been granted. "The activities of Biocon have a good strategic fit to our existing enzyme business," said Steen Riisgaard, CEO at Novozymes. "We see several interesting market opportunities combined with synergy potential, making this a very interesting acquisition." Industry insiders have estimated the Indian enzyme market to be worth around INR 2.5bn (€4.5m), against a global backdrop of €3.3bn. According to Novozymes, use of enzymes is still in its infancy in India, but awareness of their potential and benefits in food and beverage formulation is growing. Novozymes has been active in the Indian enzyme market since 1987, but will now have a greater influence in the Indian market, particularly increasing its presence in the wine and juice enzymes market. Biocon's activities, which are focused on biopharmaceuticals, custom research, clinical research and enzymes, have now been integrated into Novozymes' existing Indian and global activities and included in Novozymes' consolidated financial statements. Biocon's application development and formulation capabilities will contribute to Novozyme's R&D strategy, not least because it will bring local knowledge to the table. Biocon also brings expertise in solid state fermentation technology. Novozymes' new R&D unit in Bangalore will initially focus on optimising enzyme properties. According to Torben Vedel Borchert, director of protein optimisation in Novozymes and responsible for the new department, the reasons for establishing R&D in India include the workforce and the academic environment. "There are a large number of skilled scientists speaking perfect English," he said earlier this year. "In the long term we also envisage the new unit as a natural bridge to Indian academic institutions and local biotech-companies specialised in protein optimisation and bioinformatics," he added. For its part, the divestment of its enzymes business leaves Biocon free to focus on its biopharmaceutical activities. In financial year 2006-7, Biocon's enzyme sales amounted to INR 1bn (€18m) - 12 per cent of the company's overall revenue.