The founding of the Industrial Association Microbial Genome Research (IMG) originates in an initiative launched in 2005 by companies with biotechnological interests from the chemical, agricultural, nutrition and consumer goods sector. The intention was to emphasize the interests of industry in this field. Within one year, the initiative had already successfully applied for funds from the BMBF for its own industry-led cooperative projects with industrial and academic partners. The objective was to augment the academic GenoMik network by adding a second, industry-based pillar. In December 2006, the BMBF and IMG published press releases announcing approval of the industry-led projects. This was also the first opportunity for the IMG to present its successful model for a joint industrial strategy. To date, the member companies have mobilized 42 million Euro R&D funds in three funding programs. The BMBF supports these IWBio industrial initiatives by granting public funds.
The association was officially registered as a non-profit association in March 2007. At that time the Industrieverbund Mikrobielle Genomforschung e.V. comprised 11 founding members, including: Agowa (today LGC Genomics), Bayer CropScience, Biopract (today DSM Biopract), BRAIN, Degussa (today Evonik Degussa), Evocatal, GATC, Henkel, Milupa, Südzucker and Wacker. Currently more than twenty association are active members in the association.
Since January 2010, the association renamed as IWBio.