Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

3-21-07

Contacts:

Steve Carter, Iowa State University Research Park, (515) 296-7275, stc@iastate.edu

Yokima Cureton, Novozymes, (919) 494-3209, yokc@novozymes.com

Brent Shanks, Chemical and Biological Engineering, (515) 294-1895, bshanks@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

International biotech company to open office at the Iowa State Research Park

AMES, Iowa -- Novozymes, a Denmark-based biotechnology company that supplies enzymes for ethanol production and other applications, will open a new office at the Iowa State University Research Park in Ames.

Steve Carter, the director of the research park located just south of the Iowa State campus, said the company expects to open Ames operations in April. The company will lease a 2,000-square-foot facility for its Midwest Customer Solution Center for the Biofuels Industry. Carter said the company will assign about four employees to the office within its first year of operation. Some of those employees will support customers in the ethanol industry and staff a regional training center for customers. Others will research and develop new technologies to help make ethanol production from plant fiber commercially viable. Some of those researchers may work with Iowa State scientists.

Carter said there's potential for the company to expand its operations in Ames.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver applauded the company's decision to open an Ames office.

"Iowa's economic development momentum, particularly in alternative fuels, is impacting communities all over the state," Culver said. "All Iowans can be proud that our state's focus on the biosciences and biofuels is resulting in new jobs and investment. Public-private collaborations, such as the Novozymes-Iowa State University project, enhance Iowa's leadership in the renewable energy arena and generate greater energy and economic security. The State of Iowa is pleased to be a partner in making this collaboration come to fruition, and know that with more partnerships such as these, our state will have one unlimited future."

Novozymes is based in Bagsvaerd, Denmark. The company has research operations in Davis, Calif., and production and research operations in Franklinton, N.C., and Salem, Va. The company employs 4,500 people worldwide and markets more than 600 products in 130 countries for the biofuels, textile, food and other industries. The company bills itself as "the biotech-based world leader in enzymes and microorganisms."

Enzymes are proteins that trigger chemical reactions. They're used in the ethanol industry to convert plant starch into the simple sugars that can be fermented into fuel.

"Opening our doors in the Midwest is about maintaining our high-level, value-added technical services support to our customer plants. This regional facility extends our presence and will allow us to continually improve the efficiency of ethanol production with our customers," said Tom Burns, Novozymes' Customer Solutions Manager. "By strategically locating this satellite office in the heart of America's fuel ethanol industry, we are better able to serve Novozymes' customers through closer access to our experts, analytical support and a regional training center. This location will also allow us to advance biofuels research by partnering with some of the world's top scientists and specialists in bioenergy at Iowa State University."

Carter credits Brent Shanks, an Iowa State associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, with providing the research park with a lead about the company's interest in establishing a Midwest office to serve the growing ethanol industry.

Shanks said he met a company research official about 18 months ago during a meeting of the Midwest Consortium for Biobased Products and Bioenergy. They talked a little about Shanks' work to develop chemical catalysts to boost ethanol production. And during a subsequent conversation the official mentioned the possibility of opening a facility in Ames.

Shanks referred the company to Carter. And now the company has picked Ames for its first Midwest office. Carter thinks the company is a very good fit for the research park and for Iowa State.

"Novozymes is a leader in the bioenergy industry," he said. "So we think the company is a tremendous addition to our client base. I think there's great future potential to build this relationship at the park and here at Iowa State."

For more information about Novozymes see www.novozymes.com.

For more information about the Iowa State University Research Park see www.isupark.org.

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Quick look

Novozymes expects to open its first Midwest office at the Iowa State University Research Park in April. The office staff will support customers in the ethanol industry, offer training for customers and research new technologies to help make ethanol from plant fiber. Some of the company's researchers may work with Iowa State University scientists.

Quote

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver

"All Iowans can be proud that our state's focus on the biosciences and biofuels is resulting in new jobs and investment. Public-private collaborations, such as the Novozymes-Iowa State University project, enhance Iowa's leadership in the renewable energy arena and generate greater energy and economic security."

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver