Coronavirus hub – bioeconomy industry responses, needs and requests.

Luke Upton

The bioeconomy response to Coronavirus has been widespread and varied. In order to help collate and showcase some of the current projects, developments and offers and requests for help and assistance. Please email if you having something you’d like shared with our network. We will also be sharing on social media and in a new special section of our twice monthly newsletter.


Virus inactivating plastic foil to reduce surface-based transmission

COVID-19 disrupted our society and after the implemented lockdowns we need innovations to make a normal life possible again. Based on the virus-inactivating effect of copper, plastic films have been developed which can be applied at contact surfaces that are touched frequently by many different people. Virus particles are inactivated at its surface and will thereby strongly reduce surface-based transmission of bacteria and viruses (including coronavirus).

To make this product widely available RuKaInnovation are looking for resellers in Europe. Read more here.


INEOS Styrolution has provided free product to the University Erlangen-Nuremberg to produce 100,000 pairs of protective glasses for frontline healthcare workers in local hospitals. Read more.


Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using their materials science, fiber production and additive manufacturing expertise and capabilities to produce tooling such as custom molds for injection molding to provide U.S. industry with the necessary resources to mass produce healthcare supplies in record time.

It’s what Lonnie Love, lead scientist for ORNL’s COVID-related advanced manufacturing initiatives, describes as “catalyzing industry.” Watch video


Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers produce new mask material that can remove virus-size nanoparticles. QUT process engineer Dr. Thomas Rainey and his research team are stepping up work on a nanoparticle-removing new material they were developing for biodegradable anti-pollution masks.

“We have developed and tested a highly breathable nanocellulose material that can remove particles smaller than 100 nanometers, the size of viruses,” Dr. Rainey said. Read more here.


Two Preston lecturers from the University of Central Lancashire have used 3D printers to create potentially lifesaving equipment for coronavirus patients.

Dr Steve Sigurnjak, a senior lecturer in electronic engineering, and Dr Matthew Dickinson, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering, can usually be seen in the corridors of the University of Central Lancashire.

But the duo are currently working from their own homes where they have designed and created three brackets which will allow breathing masks to be attached to viral filters. The equipment is made of polylactic acid, the same type of material used to create Lego bricks. Read more here.


16th April. Do you have a solution that can reduce the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, but need help commercializing and rapidly deploying? The Black & Veatch COVID-19 Response Accelerator is designed for growing companies looking to scale emerging solutions to save lives, help communities cope, and protect the economy. It is a virtual, remote initiative open to startups and others with emerging solutions. Read more here.


14th April. Merck, a leading science and technology company, and The Jenner Institute today announced that the Jenner Institute has laid the foundation for large-scale production of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. With patients enrolled for clinical trials for this vaccine, rapid development of the large-scale manufacturing process is a critical step in quickly and safely delivering it from the lab to patients. Read more here.


8 April: Speciality chemical company  Clariant has started monthly production of 2 million litres of disinfectant at its facilities in Gendorf, Germany. This disinfectant is then directly or via repacking partners provided to regional hospitals and other vital institutions in Bavaria, who are currently facing limited availability of this critical product during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.


7 April: Biotechnology company Circa Group – who produces bio-based solvent CyreneTM in one step from levoglucosenone (LGO) – is offering its LGO manufacturing capability to experts looking for building blocks for coronavirus therapeutics, including ribonolactone.

Dr Jason Camp, CTO at Circa Group, said: “LGO is an excellent starting material for the synthesis of biologically active compounds, including those which have anti-cancer, anti-microbial or anti-inflammatory activity. This chiral molecule provides opportunities to access previously difficult-to-synthesize intermediates such as enantiopure dihydropyrans, deoxy-sugars and ribonolactone, the latter is a component in several drugs currently under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19.” Read more here.


3 April: German polyester giant Covestro is donating financial aid and medical equipment to countries across the globe to help them fight Covid-19. “The Coronavirus crisis affects us all and can only be overcome with solidarity. We are currently experiencing cohesion and commitment in our company to a very special degree,” explained Covestro CEO Dr. Markus Steilemann. “We want to convey this attitude to the outside world and contribute our know-how and the energy of our employees worldwide in the fight against the pandemic. At the same time, we will continue to do everything in our power to preserve the safety and health of our workforce.” Read more here.


1 April: Italian bioplastics company Novamont  is continuing operations in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Close collaboration, innovative solutions and far-reaching protective measures are all making it possible for Novamont Group to remain open and fully operational, the company reports. All sites are open and running, both in Italy and abroad, as the activities of the bioplastics manufacturer have been classified as essential under the March 22 decree of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Novamont is continuing to support its clients and partners as far as possible. Remaining open, however, has demanded adopting unprecedented safeguards and measures, the company said. Read more here.


3rd-5th April. The MIT COVID-19 Challenge virtual event ‘Beat the Pandemic’. MIT is hosting a series of challenges to empower the broader community and we invite actors around the world  to join forces with actors in Massachusetts to take action on the COVID-19 crisis. The challenge takes place from Friday, April 3 till Sunday, April 5. This is part of a series of virtual hackathons with partners from across the MIT and healthcare ecosystems. In this event, participants will form teams to generate solutions for the most pressing technical, social, and financial issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.


1st April: As healthcare facilities are facing issues with the supply of equipments, Seppic’s plant in Castres and Serdex in Pau have distributed more than 40,000 pieces of disposable equipments (gowns, hats, gloves) available in their stocks to Castres-Mazamet Intercommunal Hospital, the Purpan University Hospital in Toulouse and the Regional Health Agency.


31st March: A group of leading medical device development companies from Cambridge was asked by the UK Government to assist in the rapid development and manufacture of ventilators to meet increased hospital requirements, caused by COVID-19.

Cambridge Consultants, PA Consulting, Sagentia, Team Consulting and TTP plc took up the challenge and MetLase provided industrial support. These companies represent the renowned Cambridge Cluster, Europe’s largest technology hub, with more than 1,500 companies employing tens of thousands. Read more here.


Ongoing: OpenCovid19 Initiative. The goal of the OpenCovid19 initiative as a program is to collectively develop open-source and low-cost tools and methodologies that are safe and easy to use to fight the Covid19 Pandemic. Anyone can play a role, click here for more.  They have a particular need for engineers, doctors, managers, government and NGO validation, investors.

It is run by Just One Giant Lab (JOGL), is a non profit headquarted in Paris, France. JOGL is a decentralized open research and innovation laboratory. The goal of JOGL is to catalyze the collective creation of knowledge and solutions to resolve humanity’s most urgent challenges.


25th March: MOL has transformed one of its production facilities at Almásfüzitő into a sanitizer production plant to help the fight against the coronavirus. The facility, which is operating 24/7 in three shifts, has a production capacity of 50,000 liters of sanitizer. The first volumes have started shipping to certain key state institutions .The new product line will be available from mid-April at MOL service stations under the brand name MOL Hygi.


24th March: To show their appreciation for those on the front lines fighting COVID-19, Allbirds are offering a free pair of shoes to those working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK Simply fill out the form here and the team will get back to you after verification (note, quantities are limited). UK only. Offer valid while stock lasts, quantities are limited.


24 March: As a result of the global COVID-19 crisis, the Lenzing Group expects, based on recent developments, a negative impact on its textile sales volume. The potential impact cannot yet be reliably estimated, as it strongly depends on the duration of the crisis as well as its further effects on the global economy and textile markets. Consequently, Lenzing suspends its result forecast for 2020 as disclosed on 12 March 2020, when it expected the result for 2020 to be below the level of 2019. In order to mitigate a potentially stronger than expected decline in earnings, Lenzing has already started to implement cost saving measures across its sites globally. Read more here.



23rd March: MiProbes wants to help by developing a portable, rapid, low cost test for COVID-19. They are currently focused on identifying viral peptides of SARS-CoV-2 that can interact with transcription factors in our bio-ink. Read their call here and reach out to


23rd March: DSM are donating 260’000 bottles of hand sanitizer from our their production location Waalwijk in the Netherlands to Dutch hospitals.


18th March: Ginkgo have built their platform to enable partners across a wide range of applications to rapidly scale their R&D efforts, and we want to apply this technology today to the fight against the pandemic. To support the people building the treatments that will stop COVID-19 Ginkgo is now offering:

  • $25M of no-cost foundry work towards projects that can use Ginkgo’s platform to accelerate development of point of care diagnostics, vaccines, or therapeutics.
  • Connection to sources of funding from private and public sources. If you are interested in funding COVID-19 work, we can connect you to vetted technical teams.
  • Rapid sharing of R&D information as it is learned among the community of academics and companies working on solutions.

If you are currently a company or academic lab that is developing a diagnostic, drug, or vaccine and are interested in leveraging Ginkgo’s infrastructure at no cost please email them at And read more here. 


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