Suzano’s biotechnology subsidiary FuturaGene opens R&D center in Shanghai

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Suzano’s biotechnology subsidiary FuturaGene opens R&D center in Shanghai

December 27, 2011 - 05:52

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 27, 2011 (RISI) -UK-based FuturaGene, acquired by Suzano Pulp and Paper last year, opened its first research and development laboratory in China in December that will also serve as the company's headquarters in the country.

FuturaGenesays it is a world leader in the enhancement of yield and sustainability of woody crops for plantation forestry, biopower and biofuel markets. Itwas acquired as a wholly owned subsidiary by Suzanoin July 2010 for £55.3 million (US$84.2 million).

The company's CEO Dr. Stanley Hirsch and VP China James Zhang hosted the opening in Shanghai.

"China is a significant growth market for FuturaGene," the company said in a press release. "The company has been operating in China through partnerships with a number of universities and research institutes for the last six years. These partnerships have strengthened and grown and the need for a strategic base in the country has become imperative."

Founded in Israel in 1993 as protein engineering firm CBD Technologies, FuturaGene moved into agricultural biotechnology research in 1999 and received its first investment from Brazil's Suzano in 2001 to develop yield enhanced eucalyptus.

The company has facilities in Brazil, China and Israel and says it aims to be the leading crop technology company for plantation forestry, biopower and second generation biofuel through two main technology platforms: yield and processability enhancement - driving gains in yield during crop growth and greater processability of crop, post-harvest; and yield protection to protect strategic crops from emerging threats caused by changing climate and diminishing resources and to enable marginal land usage.

FuturaGene says its key crops are eucalyptus and poplar and its most advanced technologies are for yield improvement in sustainable industrial forestry.