Metgen to renew industry through enzymes

MetGen is an international biotechnology and cleantech company, whose business is focused on designing and manufacturing industrial enzymes as well as licensing technologies. The company aims at enabling the comprehensive and profitable use of industrial lignocellulose-based materials. With the help of enzymes tailored by the company, industrial processes can be accelerated, achieving significant savings in raw material and energy consumption. MetGen has also succeeded in gathering a significant amount of public funding for the development of new, more durable clean technology solutions and improving the utilisation rate of raw materials.

Funding through persistent work

Currently, MetGen is involved in six different financial instrument projects. EU projects alone have put the company in contact with 57 partners and expanded the company’s network to cover the best European companies. Receiving public funding is the result of persistent work in the long term. Creating an international network of partners has required us to be seen and heard in all manner of events and functions. The work we have put in over the years is now bearing fruit in the form of invitations to various projects and the effortless formation of project groups.

Funding applications are carefully drafted in keeping with our strategic goals. Public funding has, in part, enabled the creation of the company’s technological platform, which can be used to significantly accelerate the process of making an idea into reality. In fact, we have been able to translate most of the ideas created in these projects to an industrial scale with the help of the following project.

Matti Heikkilä was awarded the John Sime Award in October at the Annual Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB).*

One pitch is never enough to be remembered. International networks are crafted through hard work. You have to constantly seek exposure and have the courage to make your case whenever you have the chance,” says Chief Technology Officer Matti Heikkilä, who was awarded the CTO of the Year 2018 award in the SME category by Technology Industries of Finland.

Funding is never presented to you on a silver platter. In fact, Heikkilä encourages companies to apply for funding as early on as possible. Business models, revenue generation models and products can be honed till the cows come home, which is especially typical of Finns. Applying for funding is also an excellent opportunity to receive feedback and then do some more thinking at home.

Bioeconomy of the future

Many bio-based fuels that have revolutionised the world are only now on their way to the market. According to Heikkilä, biomaterials and biochemicals are the future. Nearly all oil-based and many products made out of metal or glass could be made with renewable materials by replacing glass bottles with high-quality bioplastic, for example. This is where MetGen excels.

The company’s production is located in Europe and the business is about to be expanded to North America. Asia shows some interest as well, which means that the company is already relatively global. Heikkilä believes that the company’s value exceeds its size in terms of the company’s role in changing industry in general. The open technology platform created by MetGen enables developing ideas all the way to an industrial scale, and quickly, too. The platform combines industrial value chains, making problems easier to solve together.

Text, Annika Myrsky

Picture, MetGen Ltd.

*About EFIB’s John Sime Award: Each year EFIB dedicates an award to John Sime who played a pivotal role in the early development of the Forum and to recognise his commitment both to the event and to the bioeconomy. John Sime’s own background as an R&D director for an SME ensured he was a keen advocate of new science and technology. To reflect this, an award is presented in his memory for the most innovative idea responding to societal and environmental challenges.