DIC Corporation (TOKYO:4631) announced a joint research development agreement with California-based biotech startup Debut Biotechnology, Inc., further enhancing DIC efforts to develop natural pigments for food colorants and cosmetics.
In recent years, increasingly urgent climate concerns have increased global consumer demand for biodegradable, naturally derived colorants—notably in foods and cosmetics—to replace synthetic petroleum-derived colorants. This rapidly increasing consumer demand has motivated major global brands to seek out more sustainable materials for their products.
Unfortunately, the increasing efforts to extract useful pigments from natural materials, including flowers or plants, continue to face significant commercialization challenges, including unacceptably low yields, excessive post-extraction waste generation, and environmental burdens, such as land and water use. Moreover, problems specific to agriculture, such as increasingly unstable weather as well as qualitative and quantitative fluctuations remain as barriers to efficient production.
While more organizations are now researching ways to efficiently culture bacteria, yeast, or algae, etc., using biological reactions within cells to produce needed materials, the by-products generated by these reactions continue to foil attempts to conduct reaction processes under optimum conditions.
Debut’s proprietary next-generation continuous cell-free biomanufacturing technology overcomes these traditional biomanufacturing barriers—retaining enzymes and other useful parts of cells, while discarding limiting parts. By working with vital cell enzymes and such under optimum conditions, Debut Biotech engineers optimize reactions, synthesizing stable targets with high purity to efficiently and continuously manufacture biomaterials and other active ingredients previously overlooked due to low material yields.
Debut, CEO Joshua Britton said, “With our advanced cell-free biomanufacturing platform, we’re able to produce color ingredients that are simply not possible with traditional fermentation-based biomanufacturing. Our colors are naturally-derived with a fraction of the inputs—less waste and energy—and without the use of petrochemicals. With this approach, we’re able to take on a level of complexity that creates whole new possibilities for the color ingredient landscape across industries. We’re thrilled to be working with DIC as they’re established leaders in the color ingredients industry.”
DIC Managing Executive Officer Kiyofumi Takano said, “DIC hopes to combine Debut's advanced knowledge of enzyme reactions and process design with DIC’s scale-up technology, quality control, and product development capabilities to develop and commercialize new sustainable, high value-added bio-based colorants, pigments, and healthy foods for global markets.”