Circa Group Pty Ltd
Bio21 Molecular Science
& Biotechnology Institute
30 Flemington Road, Parkville
VIC 3052 Australia
Twitter @circagroup

Tony Duncan
Chief Executive Officer

Fabien Deswarte
Business Development Manager

c/o Bio 21, Flemington Road

+61 419 303 117

Circa Group is converting waste biomass into advanced biochemical materials.



Circa CEO named Most Innovative Bioeconomy CEO of 2017

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA and YORK, UK - 7 December 2017. Tony Duncan, Circa CEO, has been voted the Most Innovative Bioeconomy CEO of 2017 by an international audience of bioeconomy experts.

Only the third recipient of the award, Tony is the second Australian winner – a coup for the world’s smallest continent, quietly proving its prowess in bioeconomy innovation.  

“Agriculture and Forestry have always been key industries in Australia, requiring ongoing innovation to compete on global markets. Promisingly for the bioeconomy, there is also strong support here for more sustainable industries,” explains Tony. “I am surprised and delighted to have been awarded this global accolade, and feel it is a true validation of Circa’s approach and team effort over the last nine years.”

Circa defines innovation to include both invention and commercialisation – key tenets in their success to date. In 2017 alone, the team established their 50 Tonne per year prototype in joint venture with Norske Skog and sealed a distribution agreement with Will & Co in key markets, while winning Bio-based Chemical Innovation of the Year for Cyrene in partnership with University of York and distributor Merck Sigma; and making it to the top three bio-based chemicals in the UK with Levoglucosenone.

2018 promises to be full of opportunities, with the commissioning of the prototype manufacturing plant, expected completion of their REACH VIII annex for Cyrene and a further string of exciting joint ventures.

“Importantly, this is our success, not just mine. To get here, it has taken dedicated staff, shareholders, stakeholders and partners. This joint approach is key to bioeconomy innovations: a new interdependence between organisations, built on mutual respect, high trust and an ability to look and work beyond next quarter’s results.”

Circa grants Will & Co exclusive Benelux distribution rights for Cyrene®

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA and YORK, UK – 8 November 2017. Circa Group Pty Ltd. and Will & Co B.V. have entered into an exclusive distribution agreement in Benelux for commercial quantities of Circa’s bio-based solvent and platform molecule Cyrene®.

“Our 50 tonnes per year prototype plant for producing Cyrene® is just coming online in Tasmania, and this distribution agreement with Will & Co is a major step forward to bringing our new product to Europe”, explains Tony Duncan, CEO of Circa. “We are excited to be entering this new partnership and are especially impressed with Will & Co’s track record of introducing new products to commercial markets and providing technical product advice to help clients adopt these new chemicals. “

The Benelux region, Will & Co’s home turf, comprising Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, has a long history in the chemicals industry, going back as far as the 1500s[1]. Today, the regional chemical industry is worth more than €184 billion[2], and is home to both the largest integrated chemical cluster and refinery site in Europe.

In response to tightening regulations on the use of chemicals e.g. through REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) in Europe and similar regulatory forms across most major economies, high-performance bio-based chemicals, like Cyrene® are becoming increasingly sought-after by industry.  For instance, the Dutch paint and coatings industry, which accounts for more than 20% of the world’s coating production[3], is aiming for 50% bio-based materials by 2030[4].

Jacques van Lindonk, Managing Director of Will & Co comments, “We are very happy to add Circa’s bio-based Cyrene to our portfolio and we are sure that, their product combined with our know-how and support for production and product development, will make this a very successful collaboration in European markets.”

Cyrene® is made from waste sources of cellulose such as sawdust, with promising data showing it can outperform existing solvents.  As well as being highly functional, Cyrene® is a safer alternative to petrochemical based solvents such as DMF and NMP which are under severe regulatory pressure in both the European Union and North America.  These solvents are currently used in a wide variety of applications including polymers, membranes, lithium ion battery production, printing ink and coating formulations, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and electronic chemicals. This latest distribution deal, complements existing agreements with Merck Sigma for research and development quantities world-wide.

1 The Chemical Industry in the Benelux Countries (1958)

2 Chemical sector information: Belgium – Essencia 2014, Netherlands – Delta Lloyd 2013, Luxembourg – Statistica 2015



LGO: one of the UK’s Top 3 bio-based chemicals

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA and YORK, UK – October 2017. Levoglucosenone (LGO) has been chosen as one of the UK’s top 3 biochemical opportunities, in an LBNet report authored by E4Tech.   

The report ranked chemicals based on UK strengths and market attractiveness which was defined as having “distinctive functionality and sustainability features, potential market value and competition”.

“LGO making the top three is a clear message that the breadth of opportunities to use this molecule is economically significant,” explains Tony Duncan, CEO of Circa. “Levoglucosenone is different; its extraordinary functionality means we can not only develop derivative products to replace current toxic chemicals but also challenge and offer product developers a new set of properties to work with.”

Circa is the first company worldwide to have developed a continuous process to manufacture Levoglucosenone from non-food, waste cellulose, such as sawdust. Our unique FuracellTM process uses waste cellulose to produce this highly-functional molecule that has considerable potential for the manufacture of pharmaceutical ingredients, agrochemicals, polymers and speciality chemicals.

Using LGO as a starting material, Circa is working with partners to produce a variety of high-performance chemicals, including Cyrene, a new, safer solvent. The team are finalising their prototype plant in Tasmania to produce 50 tonnes of Cyrene per year; and have already signed distribution agreements with Merck Sigma for R&D quantities worldwide, and with Will & Co in the Benelux region, home to the both the largest integrated chemical cluster and refinery site in Europe.

We are delighted that LGO has been recognised as a significant opportunity for bio-based chemicals. Creating bio-based chemicals that reduce toxic impacts on people and the environment from production, through consumption to disposal lies at the heart of our business, and it is exciting that others are recognising the huge potential of LGO now too.


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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – 13 September 2017 – Biotechnology companies Circa Group Pty. Ltd. and Sanoosa Pty. Ltd. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to continue developing molecules showing early-stage promise in inhibiting protein-protein interactions, which play a key role in disease development.
Targeting such protein complexes directly allows for a more specific response and attacks early disease promoting events. 
Circa and Sanoosa have been developing specific molecules for protein-protein interaction inhibition for three years. The MoU commits the companies to collaborate for a further year, allowing them to build on existing research.
Dr. Warwick Raverty, Chief Scientist at Circa Group, said, “This MoU has been agreed due to recent promising signs of the molecule’s performance against this specific target protein, using Sanoosa’s advanced modelling processes and in lab trials.”
Dr. Herbert Treutlein and Dr. Wolfgang Kissel, Co-Founders and Directors at Sanoosa, said, “By signing this MoU, we will continue Sanoosa’s strategy of working on difficult-to-drug targets, using both our accelerated computational molecule discovery and design capabilities.”