The biotechnology company Zymetech is built on research by Dr. Ágústa Guðmundsdóttir, professor of food chemistry, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland (UI) and board member of Matís and the late Dr. Jón Bragi Björnsson, Professor at the University of Iceland, on digestive enzymes from cod and their use in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
The value of basic research in the innovation process and how a deep knowledge of enzymes, microbiology, food science, biochemistry, cell biology and pharmacology can be used in applied biotechnology is unquestionable.
Innovation process in biotechnology companies is long and complex. Global market for biotechnology products, such as medical devices, is large, demanding and always keen on new innovations. Development of new therapeutic products needs constant ingenuity and knowledge development. The cost of patents, registration of medical products, foreign consultancy, marketing, licensing is high but necessary for international marketing.
Cooperation between Zymetech, the University of Iceland and the National University Hospital in research and funding, postgraduate supervising and publication of research results has been good and fruitful. The cooperation also contributes to employment of young scientists and their access to specialized equipment for basic and medical research. The importance of research funds for innovation and creativity within enterprises on the international market will also be discussed
About Dr. Ágústa Guðmundsdóttir
Dr. Ágústa Guðmundsdóttir received her PhD degree in microbiology and molecular biology from the Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia, and School of Medicine in Charlottesville (UVA) in 1988. She has been a visiting professor at UVA from 1989 and has also been engaged in research at University of California, San Francisco and New York University.
Since 1993 she has been a Professor in the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, presently at the School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland after serving as a tenured Associate Professor from 1989-1993 at the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, University of Iceland. Her research has increasingly focused on the use of cod enzymes against microbial infections and the development of therapeutic application based in part on her research in collaboration with Zymetech. Dr. Ágústa is the R&D Director at Zymetech and her research there has been in collaboration with the University of Iceland. She has publish numerous articles and book chapters on her and her colleagues research and supervised numerous MSc and PhD students. Dr. Ágústa has also been actively involved in management both within and outside the University of Iceland.