Finnish MetGen wins the John Sime Award for biotechnology

By October 28, 2016News

Finnish enzyme producer MetGen won the John Sime Award for Most Innovative New Technology at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB). Along with several other enterprises in its industry, MetGen – already a leading Finnish bioeconomy company – is now pursuing strong international growth.

MetGen, which produces customised industrial enzymes particularly for the processes of the pulp and paper industry, has won the John Sime Award for Most Innovative New Technology at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB). The winner was selected by the Forum’s participants, comprised of biotechnology professionals, investors and decision-makers, among others.

“Small companies like us in the biotechnology sector do accept even great challenges and, thereby, risks, in their quest to change the world. We are also taking the industrial sector in a more sustainable direction and pointing the way for large-scale operators. It is important for us to be open to cooperation and find skillful partners. Our open-minded approach and our team’s consummate competence appealed to the Forum’s audience, and we are genuinely flattered by the award. I believe that the award will help us to find partners,” says MetGen’s Chief Technology Officer Matti Heikkilä.

The enzymes tailored by MetGen speed up processes in the pulp and paper industry, generating considerable savings in energy and raw materials. According to Heikkilä, the company is now aiming at strong international growth.

“We have just launched sales in our main market and will now aim to scale this into larger growth. Finpro’s help and knowledge on networking and entering new export markets has been very important for us. Finland possesses a vast amount of first-rate biotechnology know-how, but no-one is going to come over here and carry us away. Rather, we have to be bold, enter the international arena together and make ourselves known,” says Heikkilä.

Opening up the bottlenecks in the growth of bioeconomy companies

Thanks to large-scale operators in the pulp and paper industry, the bioeconomy has a long tradition in Finland. New technologies and increasingly strict regulations have opened up plenty of new bioeconomy opportunities, which are being seized particularly eagerly by innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. Pia Qvintus, who heads Finpro’s Innovative Bioproducts Growth Program as a Program Manager, is indeed of the opinion that Finland also has a number of other small companies that represent innovative, first-rate competence and now find themselves in a similar situation to MetGen.

“Companies in the bioeconomy industry have developed new ways to create value-added products as well as energy and resource-efficient processes and technologies for their customers. These companies are in a growth phase and share challenges involving the start-up of production, for example, as well as financing and international growth. The companies’ own resources are largely tied up in product development and production, due to which they are not necessarily able to build international partnerships and sales on their own in several markets in the long term. Finpro’s programme aims to help companies overcome such challenges and to introduce new solutions created by the Finnish bioeconomy abroad,” outlines Pia Qvintus.

Finpro’s Innovative Bioproducts Growth Program includes 17 other companies in addition to MetGen. One of these is Paptic, which has developed a recyclable, bio-based and biodegradable, wood fibre-based material. The first commercial application of this material involves a replacement for plastic bags. Demand for Paptic’s product has increased as a result of the bans and restrictions on plastic bags that are becoming increasingly widespread in various countries.

For further information, please contact:
Pia Qvintus, Program Manager for the Innovative Bioproducts Growth Program, Finpro +358 50 563 4129, pia.qvintus@finpro.fi

Matti Heikkilä, Chief Technology Officer, MetGen Oy, +358403540701, matti@metgen.com

Hetta Huittinen, Communications Manager, Finpro, +358 40 033 9597, hetta.huittinen@finpro.fi

Finpro helps Finnish SMEs go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes tourism. Finpro comprises Export Finland, Visit Finland and Invest in Finland. Finpro is a public sector operator with 240 experts serving in 37 export centres in 31 countries and 6 regional offices in Finland. www.finpro.fi
Finpro – Growth for Finland

As a partner of Team Finland, Finpro manages nearly 40 significant growth programmes, such as Cleantech Finland, Food from Finland and FinlandCare. These growth programmes allow Team Finland to help hundreds of Finnish companies go international and attract foreign investments in Finland. www.teamfinland.fi