Plant leaf in Petri dish

Next Generation Bioproduction, a COMET K2 Center

Next Generation Bioproduction means a paradigm change towards the application of synthetic biology integrated with various engineering disciplines and concepts of modularization and digitalization applied at all stages of bioprocess design and development. Based on the research slogan Innovation inspired by nature, the research addresses urgent needs of the biotech industries for growth and sustainable development in the markets of tomorrow. Flexible process technologies enable a more reliable and better predictable process development and implementation and faster times to market.


To achieve its goals, acib builds upon funding from the COMET program complemented by an increasingly strong contribution from non-COMET project support. Three specialized Areas within COMET are focusing on urgent needs in industrial biotechnology

COMET areas

The strategic area breaks new scientific ground within CORE themes of the Centre’s research. This CORE topics are proteins and bio-nanoparticles at surfaces, mechanisms of phenotypic control in cell factories and multi-enzyme biocatalytic cascades. Moreover, the area boosts emerging research topics and fosters new ideas from young scientists. The strategic area paves the way for new collaborations with industry including future individual projects in COMET thus expanding the total research portfolio of acib.

The area focuses on new enzymes and flexible biocatalytic process technologies for efficient, continuous chemical production. The objective is to develop new, robust biotransformation processes, in particular for glycosylation, oxidative C-H functionalization and enzyme cascade reactions. Aims are marked cost reduction by modularization, increase of flexibility and shortening of development timelines and thus time to market for biocatalytic processes and products. Furthermore, the scope of biocatalytic processes will be expanded.

The area is focused on microbial cells and their parts designed by synthetic biology for new functions and efficient bioproduction of small molecules and proteins. It furthermore breaks new ground in harnessing microbial communities for industrial applications. Chassis strains and new hosts increase yields, productivities and titers resulting in substantial financial savings. Modularization by synthetic biology concepts reduces development times.

Guided by the vision of the “virtual factory / digital twin” the area focus is on the development and validation of multi-level models of the entire development and manufacturing chain for the efficient, reliable and controllable production and processing of high quality and safe biopharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Marked cost reducing factors are shorter development times and thus shorter times to market, reduced screening and development efforts, reduction of batch failures and streamlining of manufacturing schedules. An important beneficial consequence of such robust production processes is the avoidance of drug shortages. Site-independent training using virtual factory modules additionally offers striking economic benefits.

The COMET funding program

The COMET competence centers work with companies and research partners to develop solutions for future topics such as climate protection, digitization, mobility and health. This strengthens the innovation and business location and secures Austria a place among the leaders in international research and creates highly qualified jobs. The COMET competence centers are financed by the federal government – specifically the Ministry of Climate Protection (BMK) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (BMDW) – and the federal states Styria (via the Styrian Business Promotion Agency, SFG), Vienna, Lower Austria and Tyrol. The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) has been responsible for professional program management for more than 20 years.