Club Meeting – May 7, 2015

050715 NovoztmesDr. Shawn Semones, Director of Research and and Development Novozymes Bioag, Salem Site Lead.

Novozymes is a Danish global biotech company with a strong focus on enzyme production employing over 6,000+. Novozymes’ purpose statement is… Together, we find biological answers for better lives in a growing world. Let’s Rethink Tomorrow.  The Dow Jones Sustainability Index, a global sustainability benchmark, ranked Novozymes among the top 3 percent of companies in the chemical industry sector in 2014.

Novozymes is based on bioinnovation.  The major part of their business deals with enzymes. They also employ microroganisms and biopolymers in their biotechnology business. The company holds over 7000 granted or pending patents, which have led to 700 biotechnology products.  From helping laundry detergents remove stains, to increasing farm crop yields, to breaking down oil from hazardous spills Novozyme’s products positively affect our daily lives in a broad range of industries.

  • Agriculture
  • Bioenergy
  • Biopharma
  • Food & Beverage
  • Household Care
  • Lather
  • Pulp & Paper
  • Textile
  • Wastewater Solutions

Enzymes are the workhorses of the body. Enzymes are naturally occurring catalysts.  One of the unique things about enzymes is that they have one function and one function only.  Every function or substrate in an organism has its own unique enzyme.  When an enzyme does the job, there are no side effects.  They are an environmentally safe and sustainable application of biotechnology.

For instance, when enzymes transform starch into sugar, you can be sure that that is all that will happen. No other material or process will be altered or affected.  Enzymes are far more stable catalysts than other chemicals or biological molecules. Enzymes are a part of nature and are therefore fully biodegradable.

Dr. Semones presentation made many members aware that Salem was a location for a world class leader in biotechnology industry.  The VA Tech graduate gave us a glimpse of how science positively affects our day to day lives in unexpected ways.  Our program was an eye opener.