DENMARK – Leading biotechnology companies Novozymes and Chr. Hansen have announced their new name as a merged business: Novonesis.

According to the company’s press statement, the name means ‘A new beginning’ derived from the Greek word ‘genesis’, which means ‘beginning’.

Ester Baiget, president and CEO of Novozymes, said: “Novonesis reflects where we came from, what we can achieve, and what we will become together.

In Novonesis, we will unite the brightest minds and the best science and technology in the field to help customers and businesses prosper while enabling them to solve some of the greatest challenges we all face.”

In the joint release, the companies stated that the name Novonesis will be used once the proposed combination is completed. We expect that to take place in the first quarter of 2024 following regulatory approval.

“Until final merger control approvals are received, and the proposed combination completes, Novozymes and Chr. Hansen operate as completely separate companies,” the companies said.

The new name coincides with the European Commission’s conditional approval of the merger between Chr. Hansen and Novozymes.

EC stated that the approval was given on the condition that the commitment offered by the parties to divest their interests in lactase manufacturing is actualized.

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president in charge of competition policy of the European Commission, said: “Novozymes is an established biotech player, which manufactures industrial enzymes, including lactase.

This is a concentrated area in which Chr. Hansen is an imminent competitor. The divestiture of Chr. Hansen’s lactase activities together with production assets will ensure that its pipeline project can come to market and preserve competition in the highly innovative biotech sector.”

To comply with EC directives, the Danish companies have entered into definitive agreement to sell the their lactase enzyme business to Irish taste and nutrition company Kerry on a carve-out basis.

This business is assessed at a total consideration of €150 million, subject to routine closing adjustments.

Kerry’s acquisition of the lactase enzyme business is subject to Commission approval. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2024.

By divesting part of the parties’ lactase businesses, the Commission reports that the transaction eliminates the danger of removing sufficient competition, and thereby reducing innovation in the industrial bio-tech sector.

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