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CJ CheilJedang steps up biotech drive with PHA mass production Korean food and bio company begins mass production of biodegradable plastic

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2022-05-16 08:05:48

이 기사는 2022년 05월 13일 08:00 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

South Korea’s CJ CheilJedang started mass production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biodegradable plastic at its plant in Pasuruan, Indonesia, the company said on Wednesday, a move in line with its drive to expand its biotech business for future growth.

The plant can produce 5,000 metric tons of amorphous PHA a year. PHA is a natural polyester polymer that can be totally decomposed in the ocean and soil and thus is a viable alternative to petroleum-based plastic.

CJ CheilJedang has proprietary amorphous PHA technology, which is used as a modifier to other polymers to improve processing characteristics. It is the only company in the world that succeeded in mass-producing amorphous PHA.

CJ CheilJedang is also building a facility that will produce semi-crystalline PHA, which are used to make things like medical supplies, fibers and straws. The company plans to increase its PHA production capacity to 65,000 metric tons a year by 2025.

“Our ability to produce both amorphous PHA and semi-crystalline PHA gives us an edge over competitors in expanding the business,” an official at CJ CheilJedang said. Other PHA producers like US-based Danimer Scientific and Japan’s Kaneka Corporation make semi-crystalline PHA only.

CJ CheilJedang secured contracts to supply over 5,000 metric tons of amorphous PHA to global companies even before the mass production began.

The global biodegradable plastic market is expected to grow to 16 trillion won ($12.5 billion) in 2025 from about 5 trillion won last year amid tightened environmental rules, especially in developed countries, that are accelerating a shift to environmentally friendly packaging.

Biopharmaceutical ambitions

In July last year, CJ CheilJedang acquired bioinformatics company ChunLab, now renamed CJ Bioscience, for about 100 billion won in a deal to expand its business to include biopharmaceutical products.

CJ Bioscience is still in the red and is expected to take time to turn profitable. CJ CheilJedang recorded 60.9 billion won in goodwill related to CJ Bioscience at the end of 2021, suggesting it believes in the biopharmaceutical company’s growth potential.

CJ CheilJedang also purchased a 76% stake in Batavia Biosciences, a Dutch biotechnology contract manufacturer, for 267.7 billion won in November last year.

“We will continue to make efforts and investment in R&D to strengthen the competitiveness of our biotech business and improve profitability,” the CJ CheilJedang official said. (Reporting by Nu-ri Moon)
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