Silicon Valley in California is a hot bed for emerging technologies. The times that companies developed technology just for their own sector are long gone. Especially the biotechnology industry could not have made the advances it made without ‘borrowing’ from robotics and automation, microfluidics, data storage and bioinformatics, miniaturization, software development, inventory management, and high throughput screening, to name a few. How biotechnology relies on open innovation will be described and illustrated with examples from Amyris’s strain engineering technology. A major goal of the resulting product portfolio for the pharmaceutical, automotive, renewable fuels, household and cosmetics industries is to offer customers a way to reduce environmental impact with No Compromise® in performance, price, or availability.
Dr. Erik de Vries received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Groningen University, The Netherlands in 1997. During an eight-year tenure as Post-Doc in Biotechnology at the same university, he co-founded a spin-off marketing enzymatic technology for the manufacture of pharmaceutical active ingredients for drugs like Lipitor®. That technology was later sold to a world-class enzyme developer and Dr de Vries moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006. He has since worked on developing enzyme platform technologies, large scale processes for pharma and biofuels, enzyme immobilization, and continuous process development. His R&D focus has always been to minimize the environmental impact of any process that is being developed and he has been at companies that have been awarded a total of four Presidential Green Chemistry Awards that are granted by the US-EPA. De Vries currently works at Amyris, a developer of fermentation-based manufacture of renewable fuels, solvents, and cosmetic ingredients.