DSM and a.s.r. accelerate growth of world-leading bioscience ecosystem in the Netherlands


Heerlen & Utrecht (NL), 6 april 2023

DSM and ASR Dutch Science Park Fund team up to further develop the Biotech Campus Delft (BCD) to world-leader in bioscience. They will engage in a long-term collaboration to grow the bioscience ecosystem in Delft, the Netherlands, into a unique, world-leading campus for biosciences that will fuel the Dutch knowledge sector, sustainable food innovations and the bio-based economy. To that end, ASR Dutch Science Park Fund invests hundreds of millions of euros in the open innovation campus, among others by building new offices, shared facilities and laboratories and through purchasing some of the existing buildings. 

The campus brings together top-class research institutes, R&D, start-ups, scale-ups, fermentation expertise and commercial activities at scale in one location. The new collaboration enables the Biotech Campus Delft as fermentation and bioscience hotspot to play a leading role in the world’s transition to a sustainable, bio-based economy. The fund will be the cooperation partner for the further development of the campus and will acquire the existing offices and labs that DSM rents to start-ups and other tenants on the campus. The fund invests up to €500 million in real estate at the location over a period of 20 years. DSM will remain owner of the Rosalind Franklin Biotech Center and landlord of the Biotech Campus Delft, including the infrastructure and the utilities. DSM will further improve the accessibility of the campus to enable the long-term development of the location.

ASR Dutch Science Park Fund will also invest in the new global head office building, currently in development, for DSM’s Food and Beverage business group, which following the completion of the proposed merger with Firmenich will become a new, combined unit Taste, Texture & Health. The combination will double the new unit’s scale (to ~ €3 billion) and create a global leader in serving the food and beverage industry with extensive capabilities, helping customers provide more enjoyable eating and drinking experiences through improved taste and texture and support health through better nutrition. The new, sustainable and energy-efficient building, with a BREEAM Outstanding certificate, will house around 500 employees and will be completed by early 2025. Besides modern, collaborative office spaces, it will also provide state-of-the-art facilities for applications in food. These will help customers to expand their portfolio with more delicious, nutritious and sustainable food products, such as plant protein-based alternatives for fish and meat, cheese, and other solutions for the dairy, baking and brewing industry.

The ASR Dutch Science Park Fund already invests on multiple locations to develop science parks through partnerships, for example with the Technical University of Delft and Kennispark Twente. These partnerships allow the fund to invest in the broad scope of real estate to service and further develop the ecosystems on these locations. a.s.r. real estate emphasizes that investing, in addition to the chance of return, also entails risks.

Marja van Bijsterveldt, major of Delft : "Great that DSM and the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund are joining forces to further develop the Biotech Campus Delft into a global leader in biosciences. We congratulate all involved with this step. We strongly believe in the economic and sustainable potential of this location for Delft, the Netherlands and the entire world. The investment by the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund confirms this conviction. Delft is known for knowledge and innovations in a wide range of technologies. With the fund's investment, Delft, the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund and DSM will make a tremendous, even bigger contribution to the bio-based economy in the coming decades. It is important that Delft and DSM take up this development, which will also have an impact on the city, together."

Dimitri de Vreeze, Co-CEO of DSM : “ We can be proud of the Dutch food system knowhow, the knowledge ecosystem and the innovations that arise from it. Delft is a pivotal place for DSM in food and biosciences. With today’s milestone we further intensify our commitment to and development of this infrastructure for DSM in the Netherlands, in close collaboration with a.s.r, building on DSM’s 150 years heritage in Delft. We must transform our food system and make our food more sustainable, healthier, more nutritious and better tasting with respect for the wishes of producers, farmers and consumers.”

Jos Baeten, CEO of a.s.r.: "With this long-term investment in the Biotech Campus Delft, the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund contributes to stimulating the Dutch knowledge sector. Through the realization of offices and laboratories, companies and scientists can work together on important innovations in the field of food and the development of new products needed for a more sustainable future. This is what the fund's participants, including a.s.r. and other Dutch insurance companies and pension funds, are keen to contribute to.”

Proud history

Delft has been one of the biotechnology 'hotspots' of the world for more than one and a half century. In 1869, social entrepreneur Jacques van Marken founded the Dutch Yeast and Spirits Factory in Delft, building the foundation of the yeast factory still used today by DSM in Delft. Many innovations developed at the campus in Delft have found their way into society including: a production strain and process for the large-scale production of penicillin, a natural antifungal food preservative widely used to protect a variety of foods and beverages from spoilage; and enzymes, which among other things enable the many millions of people worldwide with a lactose intolerance to include nutritious dairy in their diets. Recent innovations from DSM’s facilities in Delft include Veramaris' algae-derived Omega-3 oil, enabling more sustainable aquaculture and healthier fish for the consumer, and Avansya's fermentative stevia sweetener.

In 2019, DSM opened up its site in Delft for third parties active in bioscience. Here they can share knowledge and infrastructure and together form an open innovation campus. The bioscience start- and scale-up accelerator Planet B.io will continue to strengthen the vibrant knowledge and business ecosystem, attracting new organizations to the BCD to make the campus flourish and grow further. The non-profit organization already hosts 16 bioscience companies that create innovative solutions for the most pressing challenges in for example the energy and food transition. ASR Dutch Science Park Fund will join the Supervisory Board of Planet B.io, besides DSM, Technical University of Delft, Municipality of Delft, Province of Zuid Holland and InnovationQuarter. These parties will support Planet B.io to help drive the ecosystem and growth of the Biotech Campus Delft.

Attractive mixture

Successful campuses have an attractive mixture of knowledge institutions, start-ups with growth potential, scale-ups with high economic added value and established companies with a global network and significant R&D activities. DSM, together with other company’s fermentation-based production facilities on site, established a large-scale fermentation production and R&D site in Delft. The site is perfectly positioned to provide suitable forms of accommodation and activities to these commercial companies in different stages. 

For more information

André van der Elsen

Koninklijke DSM
+31 4 5578 24 21