Manuel Porcar, founder and CEO of Darwin Bioprospecting Excellence, participated in the VLC/STARTUP Awards ceremony on February 25, giving the presentation “DARWIN: (r)evolution at the public-private interface”.
The event, organized by the Fundació Parc Científic Universitat de València, was inaugurated by the Director of the University of Valencia Science Park, Juan José Borrás Almenar, the Vice-Rector for Innovation and Transfer, M.ª Dolores Real García and the Director of Institutions in the Territorial Direction of the Valencian Community and Murcia of Banco Santander, José Miguel Lorente Ayala. At the end of their speeches, the three personalities expressed their congratulations to Darwin Bioprospecting Excellence for the third prize in the Santander X Global Award.
Manuel Porcar, founder and CEO of the company, then began the presentation: “First of all, I would like to thank the University of Valencia, which has been a member of Darwin since the company became a spin-off; the Science Park, which I never tire of talking about how comfortable we are located here; and Banco Santander, because we have been extremely lucky to receive many awards for our short life, but the most important has been this one. And I’m not even talking about the third prize on an international scale, just being the best startup in the acceleration phase in Spain is a great pleasure”.
“The microorganisms that can be cultivated in industry today are only a very small fraction of all the microorganisms that exist. And if you can do so much with the bacteria we have at our disposal, what can you do with all the others? To solve this problem, we created Darwin. The basis of our business is to isolate natural microorganisms and then give them an industrial application.” The CEO of the company commented on the main projects the company is working on, such as the enrichment of nuts with natural probiotic, the creation of a biodegradable vegan skin from bacteria or the decontamination of water with sulfates. “Darwin is currently an international reference in the study of microorganisms that produce biogas. Mainly archaea,” said Manuel Porcar.
Darwin’s CEO also alluded to the great growth that the company, created in 2017, has experienced: “The presentation is called the (r)evolution, with that play on words, because we didn’t expect the company to do so extremely well. The evolution could not be more positive and deserves that “r” before the word. The company is barely five years old and yet we have grown significantly in terms of turnover, personnel and international presence. In terms of publications, despite our size, small-medium in the PCUV framework, we are the company that publishes the most here, and not in relative value, but in absolute value”.
Manuel Porcar is not only the CEO and co-founder of Darwin, he is also the coordinator of the Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology group at I2SysBio, the Institute of Integrative and Systems Biology at the University of Valencia: “We are at the interface between public and private, and I would like to tell you how interesting this interface is. My academic group has undergone a revolution parallel to that of Darwin. We have increased a lot in personnel, we manage millions of euros of public grants and we have a very high number of publications. When a laboratory head sets up a company, productivity in the laboratory does not necessarily decrease, in fact it can even be the other way around, as has been our case”.
Finally, he thanked again the congratulations for the third prize in the Santander X Global Award and concluded by explaining that “the awards are not given to me, nor are they given to Darwin as an abstract entity. They are given to the people who are behind this project and who make this dream come true”.