The Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S has said that it is to up its investment in the biotech sector by over 100m Danish crowns (US$13.3m).

The company's biotech interest stems from the group's continuing research into enzymes for the beer industry, it said.

"It's a natural way for us to invest," Carlsberg Chief Executive Officer Joern P. Jensen told a news conference.

Carlsberg has established a department which will manage investments in biotech and evaluate the opportunities for further investments in own activities and external biotech companies.

Jensen said he expected investments in the biotech field to yield a two-digit return.

As part of the placement of financial resources Carlsberg A/S is planning to invest DKK 25m in VersaMatrix A/S, a new biotech company, which is 100% owned by Carlsberg.

Furthermore, Carlsberg has contributed additional capital to Combio A/S, and contributed DKK10m to DTU-Innovation. It has also agreed to invest an amount of up to DKK 75m in Care Capital, an American venture fund managed by Jan Leschly.

The company took its first step into the biotech area in late 2000 with the founding of biotech firm Combio A/S.