The idea behind the Toulouse White Biotechnology demonstrator was born in 2010, initiated by Pierre Monsan (Professor at INSA Toulouse and MINES ParisTech) and as a result of support from local, academic and industrial players. All were driven by the desire to create a centre of white biotechnology excellence of national and international renown.
Winner of the Investissements d’Avenir call for proposals in the field of health and biotechnology pre-industrial demonstrators in March 2011, the TWB project has received funding from the French National Research Agency (ANR-10-DPBS-02-01) to the tune of €20 million for 10 years.
Initiated in October 2011, TWB* attracted some thirty partners from the outset, who subsequently grouped together to form a spearhead public-private consortium, with objectives to accelerate development in industrial biotechnology and promote the bioeconomy. On 1 January 2019, fifty partners make up the consortium of TWB.
Installed in September 2012 in its facilities in Toulouse, TWB moved in June 2015 to support its growth and double its surface (1700m2).
* TWB is a registered mark (TWB®).
The TWB pre-industrial demonstrator is a Joint Service Unit. It is an administrative body supported by INRA that was created following the signing of an association agreement between INRA, INSA and CNRS (INRA Joint Service Unit 1337, CNRS Joint Service Unit 3582)
TWB is a 3BCAR Carnot Institute certified unity.
Challenges and markets
TWB operates in a context where climate, food and energy challenges are increasingly important. Biobased products and biological catalysts are possible answers to the challenges of the 21st century, not only at the industrial level but also at socio-economic and environmental levels. In this context, TWB provides a concrete response to industrials, biotechnology entrepreneurs and researchers, combining best human resources and state of the art technologies to develop new biological production chains, alternative to conventional ones.
TWB activities foster the creation and design of biological tools (enzymes, microorganisms, microbial consortia) for use in innovative and profitable industrial processes. The focused markets are chemicals (commodities, pharmaceutical products, flavors,…), materials and energy.
TWB is a demonstrator forging links between basic research and industry. It offers collaborative public / private R&D projects and services. The projects are based on a continuum of expertise for innovation: from research and proof of concept to pre-industrial development and industrial technology transfer including business creation. TWB plays its role of innovation transfer accelerator.
TWB is aware of the ethical, societal and environmental impact of the biotechnology and integrates in its projects a guidance on these subjects (ethical and societal analysis, lifecycle of products).
TWB covers a wide range of skills, from biological engineering (enzymatic and metabolic engineering, synthetic biology) to the development of processes at the pre-industrial pilot scale. It is based on three complementary levels of expertise, from laboratory to pre-industrial pilot:
- public research laboratories as the Laboratoire d’Ingénierie des Systèmes Biologiques et des Procédés (LISBP) at the University of Toulouse and other national units of INRA and CNRS
- the technical support platforms of TWB
- the Centre de Ressources Techniques (CRT) CRITT Bio-Industries Midi-Pyrénées (Toulouse).
Activities* of the demonstrator are certified ISO 9001:2015 (LRQA). The quality management system guarantees that TWB expectations will be fully taken into account and ensures the traceability of results. Moreover, TWB resolutely works toward the continuous improvement of its procedures.
*Set-up, management and hosting of public/private collaborative projects and services in the field of industrial biotechnology. Automated strains and fermentation processes engineering with bioinformatic and analytic support.
TWB is supported by
- “Investissements d’Avenir” French Program
- Local authorities: Région Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée, Toulouse Métropole, SICOVAL
- European Union (FEDER Program).