Venture Capital Evonik to Invest in Biotech Company Jenacell

Editor: Anke Geipel-Kern

Evonik acquires share in Jenacell and supplements competencies in biotechnology and delivery systems for active medical ingredients..

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Dana Kralisch and Nadine Heßler (v.l.n.r.) founded Jenacell in 2012.
Dana Kralisch and Nadine Heßler (v.l.n.r.) founded Jenacell in 2012.
(Bild: Evonik/Jenacel)

Essen—Evonik has for the first time acquired shares in a young technology company in Germany via its venture capital arm. The Group invested in Jenacelll GmbH and now holds a minority share in the spin-off of Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.

The young biotech company is a specialist for nanocellulose generated with biotechnology methods and has a production process that is unique in this field. The parties agreed not to disclose the volume of the transaction. "Jenacell is an outstanding strategic fit for Evonik. The company's technology supplements our competencies in biotechnology and in the area of delivery systems for active medical ingredients," says Bernhard Mohr, the head of Venture Capital at Evonik.

Nadine Heßler, the founder and executive manager at Jenacell, says the following in her comments on the transaction: "With Evonik, we have gained a strategic investor with extensive expertise in the set-up and operation of biotechnology production facilities and who can support us in accessing the market."

Among other applications, nanocellulose enables optimized treatment of burn wounds as well as chronic wounds. This is made possible thanks to its special material properties, which combine the benefits of plant-based cellulose with those of nanostructured materials.

Nanocellulose is not only particularly absorbent, but also extremely tear-resistant. In addition, it stands out for its high biocompatibility. The material has a pleasant feel on the skin, regulates the moisture level of wounds, and can be removed painlessly because it does not stick to the skin.

This mix of properties will benefit burn victims in the future. Treatment with wound dressings made from nanocellulose is less painful, since the material has a cooling effect and the dressings can be changed easily. At the same time, the material keeps the affected areas moist, which accelerates healing and reduces scarring. The product launch is planned for the end of 2015. Nanocellulose can also be loaded with medical and cosmetic ingredients for controlled release over time.