2012: a public/private partnership at the root of TWB
TWB was created in 2012 as an INRAE/INSA/CNRS Joint Service Unit following a call for projects under the French investment programme "Health and Biotechnology - Pre-industrial Demonstrators". The French National Research Agency (ANR) funded TWB to the tune of €20 million and set a target of €21.8 million in industrial contracts to be signed by the end of 2019. TWB succeeded in meeting this target in the first quarter of 2018 and has now more than €50 million in signed industrial contracts. These include major projects with Carbios to incorporate enzymes into the heart of plastics to make them biodegradable (THANAPLAST); and the development of a pilot for recycling PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) based plastics with a view to the circular economy (C. E-PET); or Adisseo (SYNTHACs) for the development of an alternative production route for methionine, an amino acid essential for animal nutrition. Other projects are still in progress, such as the BioImpulse project with Resicare, tto create a new adhesive resin that is free of substances that are harmful to people and the planet.
2012 was also the year in which the TWB consortium was created, with the aim of facilitating collaboration between players in the sector and accelerating innovation. With 51 members to date, ranging from start-ups to large corporations, including industrialists, research institutions and investors, its dimension has become international, thanks in particular to the entry of Syngulon in 2017, Braskem in 2018, Green Spot Technologies in 2019 and Premier Tech in 2022.
TWB: a catalyst for innovation
TWB wants to accelerate the development of start-ups in the biotech sector whose R&D is costly, time-consuming and requires a variety of cutting-edge expertise. In 2015, a start-up was created as a result of a pre-competitive project funded by TWB. TWB then decided to launch a new activity: hosting start-ups and giving them access to the platforms' cutting-edge technologies and the teams' know-how. Nine start-ups have been hosted since 2015 and five are currently evolving at TWB: PILI, BioC3, iMEAN, Lantana Bio & Aviwell.
In 2018, TWB created the TWB START-UP DAY, an annual event that brings together international players in the sector: major industrial companies, investment funds, start-ups and academics. Two competitions take place: the first is for start-ups and the prize is an access to TWB's technology platforms (worth €50,000); the second is for entrepreneurs in the process of creation and the prize is mentoring sessions provided by TWB and its partners. Previous winners have come from Israel, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, France, the UK and Germany. The 2022 edition brought together ten speakers and 200 industry professionals from twelve countries.
2022: TWB’s best year to date
With an estimated increase in turnover of 10% (compared to 2021), and a 40% increase in projects in one year, 2022 promises to be TWB's best year since its creation. This year is also marked by a strengthening of its integrated offer with an investment of €2.5M in state-of-the-art technological equipment and new services offered in collaboration with emerging start-ups of the consortium: Processium and Syngulon, following the first offers developed with ALTAR and iMEAN in 2021.
The industrial integrator TIBH (Toulouse Industrial Biotechnology for Health), which has already supported the set up of a dozen bioproduction projects since 2020, has obtained the renewal of its labeling for a further five years. Finally, in July 2022, the Canadian group Premier Tech and the Lyon-based start-up Bon Vivant joined the TWB consortium, strengthening its position in the field of well-being.
TWB is also at the service of the France 2030 plan, which aims to bring about technological breakthroughs and support the industrialisation of innovation with the objective of creating a new economic and social model. Olivier Rolland, Executive Director of TWB, has been appointed ambassador and expert in the interministerial committee "Sustainable Materials".
Ambitions by 2025: the national and international partner of choice
TWB remains on course with the commitments defined in 2019:
Continue to develop its integrated & packaged offers to conduct large-scale projects with industrial partners
- Strengthen its capacity to scale up with CRITT Bio-Industries
- Establish partnerships with international academic laboratories
Strengthen its support for innovation transfer
- Double the financial resources deployed for pre-competitive projects led by academic laboratories
- Consolidate its capacity to support start-ups (off and on site)
Build loyalty and develop its network of partners, particularly internationally
Become the national innovation platform of reference via France 2030
- Support project leaders to develop technologies and new production methods for all markets (agriculture, health, food, etc.)
“Biotechnology has a crucial role to play in the development of innovative and responsible solutions to the major societal and environmental challenges of this century. As a key player in the sector, the TWB team is involved in the research and development of these solutions. Our expertise and our international ambition will make France and the Toulouse region shine as a territory of innovation and skills”, concludes Olivier Rolland, Executive Director of TWB.