This paper presents a study of the pre-history and evolution of a regional innovation system initiative supporting activities at the intersection of traditional food production and modern biotechnology. Drawing on established ideas on the triple helix of industry, university and government and its impact on innovative capacity (as they are formulated in the regional innovation systems approach) and more recently introduced ideas on "differentiated industrial knowledge bases", the study illustrates how regional innovation system support initiatives are formulated and implemented in close dialogue with the actors and activities constituting the systems under support. The initiative analysed in this paper is a good example of pro-active and fine-tuned regional innovation policy, referred to as "constructed regional advantage". By focusing on an initiative targeting the renewal of a mature industry in a declining phase of its life cycle, the paper fills a gap in the literature which so far has dealt mostly with emerging industries at the start of their life cycle. Two innovation trajectories that contributed to the formulation of the initiative, and now benefits from it, are used to illustrate the arguments.