On August 15, 2019, more than 200 government and community officials and biotechnology thought leaders from around the world came together to mark the opening of Manus Bio’s first biotech manufacturing facility.
Manus Bio Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was founded in 2011 to create new, cost effective and sustainable natural flavors, fragrances, sweeteners, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals through its proprietary advanced fermentation technology. In 2018, Manus Bio bought a 44-acre fermentation and ingredient processing plant in Augusta, Georgia, which had been idle since 2015.
Manus Bio has now updated the plant’s infrastructure to manufacture its target products. So far, the company has hired 30 full-time employees and more than 70 contractors. Among the company’s first products will be a next-generation stevia sweetener, which delivers natural, zero-calorie sweetness without the limitations of earlier versions of stevia.
"By expanding our capabilities in large-scale manufacturing, Manus Bio is now positioned to play a leading role in the supply and commercialization of natural ingredients around the world," said Manus Bio’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ajikumar Parayil.
In conjunction with the factory opening, Manus Bio convened a one-day scientific workshop that brought together industrial biotechnology researchers and thought leaders from the US, Europe and Asia. The workshop focused on recent developments in the industrial biotechnology field and the translation of basic research findings into industrial-scale production.
“Everything we currently use and consume, from food and medicine to tools and transportation, is produced through chemical conversion or by harvesting or mining increasingly scarce natural resources,” Dr. Parayil said. “Advanced fermentation promises a new way to make the products we use in our daily lives without the negative impacts of traditional manufacturing, such as CO2 emissions and toxic waste.”
“Manus Bio has the vision and drive to create a sustainable production platform for complex natural ingredients at a scale required for successful commercialization. We expect to reduce natural resource consumption 100-fold and production costs five- to tenfold,” said Dr. Christine Santos, Manus Bio’s Chief Technology Officer.
Brendan Naulty, Manus Bio’s President of Sweeteners & Natural Ingredients told guests in his address, “Manus Bio has remarkably innovative technologies to produce natural ingredients, and we have a fantastic opportunity to build a strong company for many decades to come.”
The next steps for the Augusta facility include scaling up additional products in Manus Bio’s pipeline, which are currently under development in its Cambridge-based R&D facility. Recommissioning of the Augusta facility to accommodate another 1.2 million liters of fermentation capacity will begin in 2020.