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ACS/BIO Summit on Industrial Biotech

December 20, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 51

On Oct. 28–29, ACS and the Biotechnology Industry Organization jointly hosted their second annual Chief Technology Officer Summit meeting on industrial biotechnology in Boston. The meeting is focused on the increasing R&D into the use of biotechnology as a platform for production in the chemical industry.

The summit started with an academic panel on advances in nanobiotechnology, a luncheon speaker on the history of innovation in the chemical industry, and two government-industry panels led by the Department of Energy covering their programs on bioenergy and the subsequent development of markets for chemical platforms from biological sources. The day's program was followed by workshops to facilitate dialogue based on the agenda. In addition, a special workshop was held in which industry leaders discussed the role that biotechnology will play in the future of the chemical industry. Those results were compiled and presented in a plenary session.

The second day focused on specific sectors of the chemical enterprise most likely to be shifting toward at least some biological production in coming years. The morning began with a discussion on the metrics and evaluation processes for chemical industry leaders considering a biotechnology R&D initiative. Ford Motor Co. shared with the group the perspective of a large purchaser of the industry's products and outlined many of the various parts of automobile manufacture, from plastics to upholstery to body panels, paints, lubricants, and fuels for which Ford is evaluating biobased materials. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture then discussed a new procurement bill that would offer preferences to biobased chemicals.


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