Tuesday, 25 October 2011

SusChem FP7 Success Stories

Creating economic value through effective collaboration

SusChem Europe and the Polish National Technology Platform SusChem organised a workshop in Warsaw on October 18, under the patronage of the Polish Presidency of the EU. The meeting brought together European policy-makers, politicians, industry and academia to share the benefits and impacts that have resulted through collaborative research and discuss best practices for successful EU projects, including impacts for scientific and commercial partners.

During the event at Warsaw University, speakers presented three FP7 projects involving significant Polish contributions (EUMET, EFECTS and INTENANT) and with great scientific and commercial potential. Dr Keith Simons, who worked as an EC-appointed advisor with these project teams, also described key generic learning points to ensure success in EU projects.

Polish perspective
Speaking at the panel discussion , Mr. Wojciech Lubiewa-Wielezynski, President of the Board of the Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry, described the challenges for major Polish industries to successfully work, in collaboration framework projects, with academic colleagues and the importance of SusChem national platform in Poland. However it is necessary to:
  • encourage chemical industry in Poland to be much more involved in research and innovation
  • increase of practical use of the Polish science potential in chemistry by industry
  • organize awareness workshop for the stakeholders with participation of EU-15 chemical industry. An opportunity for such as event could be during the Chemical Technology Congress in Krakow on 8-12 July 2012 or before through the Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry.
In this context, the good opportunities in the new EC framework programme, Horizon 2020, were discussed. For energy and resource intensive industries, SusChem is positioning the importance of the process industries in Europe in overall EU 2020 policy objectives. The concrete Public Private Partnership proposal in this area, which is currently under EC evaluation, would give excellent opportunities both for Polish industries and related academic partners.

Horizon 2020
Mr. Lubiewa-Wielezynski looked forward to future European research and innovation programmes saying: “Horizon 2020 will create significant targets on energy and resource efficiency improvements and Poland has a good hand of cards to play in these areas.”

Supporting this statement Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic said that: “The chemical industry’s participation will be of critical importance for these targets within the Horizon 2020 programme.”

Søren Bøwadt, Programme Officer for DG Research and Innovation commented that he was impressed by the quality of the projects presented and how well they fitted with the SusChem strategic directions. From the panel discussion he sought to encourage the chemical industry and academia in Poland to get further involved with collaborative participation in EC projects, as clearly in the new Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, some good opportunities could be expected on themes important for the SusChem Poland partners.

Patent success
All three projects demonstrated the importance of academia and industries working together to accelerate knowledge creation and build business opportunities. Industrial Biotechnology, Materials Technology and Reaction and Process Design, all key aspects of the Suschem Research Agenda were targeted by the projects. In addition to commercial success, the project outcomes are also impacting upon the challenges facing European society. To date, the projects have already filed 10 patents, and more are anticipated in the near future.

For example EUMET (Design, Development, Utilization and Commercialization of Olefin Metathesis Catalysts) developed a range of novel olefin metathesis catalysts. The first example has already been scaled-up by industrial partner Umicore. Improved olefin metathesis catalysts have also been discovered and approved for the synthesis of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals anti-hepatitis drug, TM435 currently in Phase III clinical trials.

In total over 50 new complexes were created and some 100 reactions tested. In addition to the direct benefit for the project partners, one catalyst is already available from research catalogues, and further selected catalysts are also to be brought to the market.

INTENANT (Integrated Synthesis and Purification of Enantiomers) has developed methodologies for improving the chemical yields (significantly reducing the cost of goods) during the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). AstraZeneca is training over 100 chemists on the use of these new approaches which has been found to significantly improve process yields for a drug currently in Phase II clinical trials. The project has also benefited the German SME Molisa GmbH which has been able to develop an efficient synthetic route to the anti-tusive (cough-suppressing) Noscaspine. The molecule is also under investigation for its anti-cancer properties. In addition, a new company, FGEN has been created as a spin-out from the ETH, Zurich which will be supplying contract research services on the high-throughput racemisation approaches developed within the INTENAT project.

Finally EFECTS (Efficient Environmental-Friendly Electro-Ceramics Coating Technology and Synthesis) reported on the novel functional inks and ink-jet printing techniques developed during the project. The Greek SME Nanophos reported how they were able to rapidly commercialise the formulations developed during the project and offer self-cleaning and water-repellent surface coatings which are being incorporated into various building materials. The German SME Zenergy Power GmbH also reported it development of high-temperature superconducting tapes that could see application in turbines for wind and marine power generation.

Pictures from the meeting show (above from left to right): Johannes Spork - Cefic, Prof B A. Glowacki - University of Cambridge, Prof. Dr. Habil Karol Grela - Warsaw University, Dr. Søren Bøwadt - European Commission DG Research and Innovation, Wojciech Lubiewa-Wielezynski - President of the Board at Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry and Mr. Zbigniew Kamienski - Deputy Director, Ministry of Economy Poland.

Pictured below (from left to right) are: Dr Martin Hedberg - Astra Zeneca, Dr. Angelino Doppiu - Umicore, Prof. Dr. Habil Karol Grela - Warsaw University, Dr. Andras Horvath - Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

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