The next generation of flexible phone screens and other high tech products are one step closer to development following a partnership agreement between Melbourne-based company Boron Molecular; South Korean manufacturer the Kyung-In Synthetic Corporation (KISCO); and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.
CSIRO and KISCO will both take a minority shareholding in Boron Molecular. The investment, announced in Seoul on Thursday 9 July, will enable the continued growth of Boron Molecular’s manufacturing capacity in Australia, and use CSIRO technologies to open up global markets.
Zoran Manev is Managing Director of Boron Molecular, which originally spun out of CSIRO 20 years ago.
“We thank CSIRO for their long-term trust in, and support for our company,” Mr Manev said.
“Now with the manufacturing capability, international reach and reputation of KISCO, we can offer CSIRO’s chemical technologies at scale to a global market.”
Boron Molecular and KISCO will use a suite of CSIRO technologies to enable manufacturing of high purity precision engineered polymers for flexible electronics, and many other applications in health, industry and agriculture.
Dr John Tsanaktsidis, Advanced Fibres and Chemical Industries Research Director at CSIRO, said this partnership will see CSIRO continue to use its science to strengthen local businesses and create future industries and jobs.
“The new agreement will bolster Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capability, create local jobs and open the door for Boron Molecular to further commercialise CSIRO’s technology in new global markets via KISCO’s international links and production capacity,” Dr Tsanaktsidis said.
“Our partnership with KISCO and Boron Molecular builds on over 40 years of CSIRO’s technological leadership in chemical processing and polymers, which has led to Australia’s plastic banknote technology, extended wear contact lenses, biodegradable plastics for biomedical applications, and many other products.”
KISCO CEO and President Dr Sung Yong Cho said they will initially focus on flexible electronics.
“We’re looking forward to making the first products from this new partnership available to Korean electronics companies this year,” Dr Cho said.
“CSIRO is a powerhouse of chemistry and materials research and through our partnership with Boron Molecular we can scale up and deliver this research to new markets.”
CSIRO processes and technologies that Boron Molecular are commercialising include:
- Flow chemistry – CSIRO is pioneering the use of flow chemistry in Australia and has helped Boron Molecular integrate this efficient, cost effective, waste-reducing technology into its operations. Flexible electronics are created using polymers made through flow chemistry.
- CSIRO’s reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) – enables the production of polymers that are designed with enhanced properties for a myriad of uses across health, industry and agriculture.
- Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) – used to absorb molecules and harvest water from air.
- MS3 art conservation resin.
The Kyung-In Synthetic Corporation (KISCO) creates colours and chemical solutions. For almost 50 years the KISCO group of companies has been producing dyes, inks, fine chemicals and materials for textiles, food, agriculture and electronics. They have large-scale production facilities in 11 plants across Korea, China and Turkey. Their 2019 turnover was about $US310M.
Boron Molecular was spun out of CSIRO 20 years ago and successfully took a suite of products to market that are now used by global pharmaceutical companies as building blocks for new drugs. In 2015 the company signed a master license agreement with CSIRO for the commercial exploitation of a suite of CSIRO polymer and advanced material technologies including RAFT. Boron Molecular is an Australian company with manufacturing facilities in Melbourne and Raleigh, NC.
CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst. It solves the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. CSIRO’s collaborative research turns science into solutions for food security and quality; clean energy and resources; health and wellbeing; resilient and valuable environments; innovative industries; and a secure Australia and region.
Launch: 3pm KST, 4pm AEST, Thursday 9 July, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Seoul and via Zoom
Speaking: His Excellency James Choi, Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Please use CSIRO media contact details to join the call.