GEOMAR-Biotech is the successor of the Kiel Centre for Marine Natural Products, (Kieler Wirkstoff-Zentrum, KiWiZ), which was founded as an initiative of the state Schleswig-Holstein. The state government of Schleswig-Holstein funded the installation and assembly of the KiWiZ laboratories, instrumentation and research staff for marine natural product research (2005-2010), as well as the establishment of a pure marine natural product library by KiWiZ (2008-2011).
With the notification of the grant approval in December 2005 the KiWiZ started its work as an applied R&D project of the Research Unit (RU) Marine Microbiology of IFM-GEOMAR. In 2006, KiWiZ became operational at its current location Am Kiel-Kanal 44, with a primary focus on microbial marine natural products under the directorship of Prof. Johannes F. Imhoff.
In 2014, Prof. Deniz Tasdemir has been recruited through Helmholtz recruitment initiative to take over the leadership of the KiWiZ under the newly established Research Unit Marine Natural Products Chemistry. On 1st October 2015, KiWiZ was relaunched with a new name (GEOMAR-Biotech), and a new logo. Since October 2023, the unit have been located in the new building of the GEOMAR Campus, Wischhofstraße 1 - 3, 24148 Kiel.