SAN DIEGO, June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Genomatica announced today that it has achieved two key commercialization milestones ahead of schedule. First, the company achieved pilot-scale validation, at 3,000 liters, of the manufacturability and commercial viability of a 'green' version of 1,4-butanediol (BDO), its first commercial product. And second, the company confirmed the accelerated development time and reduced development and production costs made possible through use of its technology platform, from concept to commercialization.
Pilot Validation for BDO Drives Readiness for Commercial Scale-up and Production
Genomatica's first planned commercial product is a 'green' BDO, made from renewable feedstocks rather than crude oil or natural gas. BDO, a product with a $3 billion and growing market, is used to make spandex, automotive plastics, running shoes and more.
Genomatica has completed multiple 3,000 liter batches of BDO using a variety of readily available commercial-grade sugars as feedstock. Yield, productivity, separation and purification were consistent with the targets required to produce Genomatica's green BDO at lower cost than typical commercial production of petroleum-based BDO.
The scale-up to 3,000 liters, a 100-fold increase from lab scale, was completed in two months. Results matched metrics from smaller-scale tests, and from Genomatica's modeling software. The scale-up was performed at MBI, a not-for-profit technology company affiliated with Michigan State University's BioEconomy Network, which has worked with companies including DuPont Applied BioSciences. "MBI's deep experience with scale-up and de-risking made them a great partner," said Mark Burk, chief technology officer of Genomatica.
Unique Development Platform Slashes Time to Market
Genomatica created and used its unique integrated bio-process engineering platform to develop its BDO organisms and complete manufacturing process. This was achieved in a record 2 1/2 years – dramatically faster than previous industry accomplishments with bio-processes.
Genomatica's platform allows high-throughput 'in-silico' (computer-based) design and testing of highly-optimized organisms, manufacturing processes and economics. This results in more efficient, focused lab work, much faster product development and time to commercial-scale manufacturing, lower-cost production, and de-risking of the process. Genomatica has applied to industrial biotech the same lessons of analysis, modeling and simulation that helped drive the realization of Moore's Law in the chip industry, rather than using more costly brute force or trial-and-error techniques.
The platform has also been proven through $20 million of partnerships with Dow, DSM, Unilever, NatureWorks/Cargill, Kyowa Hakko, and Verenium; and over 30 peer-reviewed projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense and Environmental Protection Agency.
Significance to the Industry
"Genomatica's platform technology is the greatest enabling technology I've seen for industrial biotechnology – and I've seen a lot," said Bernhard Hauer, formerly BASF's vice president, research, and now professor at the University of Stuttgart. "This has the potential to catalyze a transformation of the chemical industry – no pun intended."
"The speed with which Genomatica introduced new generations of its 1,4-butanediol organism is impressive," said David Jones, Senior Vice President of MBI. "The company has set a new standard."
"By successfully implementing the manufacturing process at this scale, we have shown that our first product is ready for commercialization and that our platform delivers," said Mark Burk, chief technology officer of Genomatica. "Our bio-based BDO process will be cost-advantaged when compared to existing methods. We're looking forward to delivering these same advantages to additional products and processes."
Genomatica is the emerging leader in the sustainable chemicals revolution. Genomatica aims to transform the chemical industry through clean, cheap, bio-based production of intermediate and basic chemicals – a $1 trillion plus market – from a range of current and next-generation renewable feedstocks rather than oil and gas. The company's unique integrated bio-process engineering platform allows 'in-silico' (computer-based) design and testing of highly-optimized organisms, manufacturing processes and economics. This results in much faster product development and time to commercial-scale manufacturing, and lower production costs. The platform has been proven in the record speed of pilot validation of Genomatica's first product, BDO; in partnerships with Dow, DSM, Unilever, NatureWorks/Cargill, Kyowa Hakko, and Verenium; and in over 30 peer-reviewed projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense and Environmental Protection Agency. Genomatica has developed extensive intellectual property for clean, industrial biotechnology, including over 100 issued and pending patents, and IP on the pathways and/or strains for 20 of the top 100 intermediate and basic chemicals. Genomatica has raised $40 million from Alloy Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mohr Davidow Ventures and TPG Biotech.