FOUNDED as a research and development company in the Gebze Organized Industrial Zone Tehcnnopark, Episome Biotechnologies is a Turkish startup that focuses on the production of industrial enzyme technologies. After establishing itself in the Turkish market, it now has ambitious targets: to build five facilities in Europe by 2026.
Since its establishment in 2014, Episome Biotechnologies has focused on enzyme technologies to produce more productive and sustainable products and industrial processes, according to Murat Balaban, CEO of the company. The enzymes and micro-organisms produced by Episome are used in various sectors, from cellulosic waste to renewable energy production as well as sustainable husbandry and agriculture. Invented by Episome, the patent of a pre-treatment technology, dubbed “Epicellulyse XT”, which makes waste in the paper industry ready for bio-LNG production, has been officially registered in various countries such as the U.S. and Europe.
EYEING NEW INVESTMENT TO GO GLOBAL
Episome Biotechnologies received a total of EUR 1.7m in investments from Diffusion Capital Fund through a EUR 7m valuation in 2017. Although this investment helped the company to kick off, Episome now aims to go on a new investment round for global expansion. The company has already made an agreement with a Dutch energy company for the first commercial application of the Epicellulyse XT technology in 2021.
“Waste from seven different paper factories will be processed and turned into bio-LNG, one of the most important bio-fuels of our time, in the Netherlands factory,” said Balaban, adding that the feasibility process of the project is ongoing. Meanwhile, Episome is also working to increase capacity at an existing bio-LNG facility in Norway. The company now wants to attract investors to build a similar facility in Turkey. In addition, Episome also aims to establish five facilities in Europe in the next five years. “Additionally, we want to become a global brand by commercializing our sustainable micro-organisms and enzymes that benefit the agriculture and husbandry sectors,” says Balaban. “We also plan to establish a pilot facility in the U.S. and conduct comprehensive market research.”
PROFITING THROUGH THREE CHANNELS
The company has been making profits through three different channels as of 2020. “But we expect to reach the targeted high-profit level at the end of 2021,” explains Balaban and lists sales of enzyme and micro-organism (i.e. probiotics), design and feasibility processes of Epicellulyse XT and enzymatic process development for different industries as Episome’s main profit channels. Targeting mainly renewable energy producers for its Epicellulyse XT technology, Episome focuses particularly on companies that produce biogas/bio-LNG from waste. “Pure probiotic micro-organism products can be used both in human and animal food,” says Balaban. “That’s why healthy food, beverage and provender producers are also in our target audience. Lastly, we target manure producers for the micro-organisms used in agricultural activities.”
While Episome’s Epicellulyse XT product paved the way for the company to make international partnerships, the company’s adventure began with Green Zebra Biostick through Hello Tomorrow Turkey’s ‘Baslat Turkiye’ program. These sticks are plant nutrients that address the last user and allow plants that grow in pots to have a balanced and practical diet. “Baslat Turkiye supported us to develop the product, promote it to investors and make it more profitable,” says Balaban.