Its innovations offer the promise of accelerating bio-manufacturing processes within the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food manufacturing industries
23 Nov 2018
HKSTP partner company GeneHarbor announced that it has developed a leading comprehensive biotechnology platform that applies enzyme-based, low-cost processes in manufacturing high-quality pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food products. Officiating guests at the announcement conference were (from left to right):
GeneHarbor has been a Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) partner company since 2007, Prof. Jun Wang, founder and CEO of the company showcased their second enzymatic production laboratory and the equipment in the Science Park.
(Hong Kong, 22 November 2018) - GeneHarbor (Hong Kong) Biotechnologies Limited (GeneHarbor), a Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) partner company since 2007, announced that it has developed a leading comprehensive biotechnology platform that applies enzyme-based, low-cost processes in manufacturing high-quality pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food products. GeneHarbor is currently one of the companies in the world that has a complete chain of enzymatic production with advanced technology in each of the manufacturing steps.
Named Immobilised Enzyme Assembly for Cascade Biocatalysis, the biotech platform uses newly-developed industrial enzymes, proprietary technologies and groundbreaking enzyme-based manufacturing processes to develop drugs and food ingredients for various industries. The technologies, industrial processes, including the products manufactured using these processes, have been validated by international standards bodies such as the American, EU and Japanese Pharmacopeia. GeneHarbor has also signed partnership agreements with the leaders in the pharmaceutical and nutritional industries to apply their proprietary technologies for mass production, including COFCO, Kelun Pharmaceuticals, North China Pharmaceuticals, Furen Pharmaceuticals, among others.
Earlier this year, GeneHarbor opened a new 3,000 square feet laboratory in addition to its current facilities in Hong Kong Science Park. This laboratory serves as the main R&D facility staffed by more than 30 research scientists, with many of them holding advanced degrees in various relevant disciplines. The laboratory focuses on transforming laboratory techniques and technologies into commercial and industrial applications. GeneHarbor also has manufacturing facilities in Shanghai, Suzhou and Ningbo, China.
Enzyme-based Processes to Disrupt Conventional Methods in Bio-manufacturing
Enzymes and the accompanying co-enzymes are biocatalysts that are often used in the manufacture of drugs and health products. Currently, of the US$ 3 trillion worth of fine chemicals produced annually, only less than 4 percent are made by enzymatic processes.
“Green chemistry” is playing an increasingly important role in the manufacturing industry, and as such, enzyme-based manufacturing methods are much preferred by industry players. This new approach is set to revolutionise bio-manufacturing because they are highly specific in producing the final products with high yields, generating less waste and by-products. The reactions take place under mild conditions and usually do not use other potentially-polluting chemicals or require high temperatures and high pressures used in conventional chemical manufacturing processes. Enzymes are also non-toxic and biodegradable.
Professor Jun Wang, Founder and CEO, GeneHarbor (Hong Kong) Biotechnologies Limited, said, “Current methods of applying enzymatic processes in industrial manufacturing are not common because enzymes and co-enzymes are very expensive. Furthermore, the bio-reactors in use today are not efficient. After more than two decades of research and over US$150 million invested into exploring new enzymes, developing proprietary and patented technologies never used before in the industry, we have established over a dozen new processes of producing pharmaceutical and food products. We are on the cusp of completely revolutionising the bio-manufacturing industry.”
GeneHarbor’s manufacturing innovations have already positively impacted the nutritional market, making some of the previously expensive products more affordable to the public. One example is β-Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), an anti-aging product. Over the last two years, GeneHarbor’s manufacturing methods have reduced the retail price of a NMN 9000 capsule from US$ 3,000 to less than US$ 200 today. For another product, the natural antioxidant glutathione (GSH), GeneHarbor’s manufacturing innovations have reduced solid waste and energy consumption by over 70 percent, compared to conventional processes.
George Tee, Chief Technology Officer, HKSTP, said, “The biomedical technology sector is one of the focus areas for HKSTP. We play a pivotal role in nurturing biomedical companies in Hong Kong through providing them with the best environment and support to grow. As a spin-off from one of our local universities, GeneHarbor is a success story that showcases the high quality of research and talent within our academia. We are proud to have a local company like GeneHarbor develop its own world-leading technologies with local R&D scientists, and witness their partnerships with large pharmaceutical clients. I congratulate Professor Wang and his team for their innovations and may they bring bigger success for their customers in the healthcare industry.”
HKSTP has always been supporting the local development of Hong Kong’s innovation & technology (I&T) sector, and biomedical research is one of its key focus areas. Hong Kong Science Park currently has one of the most vibrant biomedical technology ecosystem, with more than 100 biotechnology companies involved in medical devices, molecular diagnosis, stem cell therapy, regenerative medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and advanced therapeutics. The Biomedical Technology Support Centre at Science Park provides R&D tools and affordable high-quality technical services for local research, especially for startups.
*GeneHarbor (Hong Kong) Biotechnologies Ltd. is a partner company of HKSTP. This press release is issued by HKSTP on behalf of the company.