SAN DIEGO, CA, July 11, 2005 – Diversa Corporation Bio-Based Materials a set of candidate enzymes under the companies’ biorefinery program that exceed the initial performance targets set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which were established by comparison to the performance of existing commercial enzymes for biomass conversion. This achievement triggered two milestone payments to Diversa totaling over $500,000 – one for meeting the DOE requirements and a second for substantially exceeding the DOE requirements. The goal of the program, which was initiated in 2003, is to develop a cost-effective process to convert corn and other biomass feedstocks to sugars for production of fuels and chemicals. Based on Diversa’s successful enzyme development activities, the program has advanced to the next phase, which is focused on achieving key economic objectives.
This program is part of a six-year alliance between Diversa and DuPont Bio-Based Materials to discover and develop novel biocatalysts for the production of fuel ethanol, DuPont™ Bio-PDO™ for textiles and other applications, and a range of value-added chemicals from renewable resources such as corn and biomass. As the leader of a $38 million consortium to develop a biorefinery, DuPont will receive $19 million in matching funds from the DOE over four years. In addition to Diversa, which offers enzyme development expertise, and DuPont, which offers chemical and engineering expertise, other members of the consortium include Deere & Company, offering world-class expertise in agronomic systems analysis and material processing, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which is world-renowned for its expertise in biomass conversion, and Professor Bruce Dale, Ph.D., a biomass expert from Michigan State University, who will address life cycle analysis.
Known as the “Integrated Corn-Based BioRefinery (ICBR)”, the program is designed to demonstrate the feasibility and practicality of alternative energy and renewable resource technology. The ICBR would produce sugars from corn and biomass and use them in a fermentation process to produce fuel ethanol and other value added chemicals. Diversa is receiving research funding from DuPont and is entitled to milestone payments and royalties on any new products developed under the collaboration.
“Given tight energy supplies and increasing world-wide demand for fossil fuels, there is a growing need to develop economical alternative sources of energy. The enzymes we developed and delivered to DuPont perform significantly better than other commercially available enzymes for this application, which is critical for establishing practical alternative energy solutions,” stated Jay M. Short, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. “The integrated biorefinery prototype we are pursuing is an innovative approach to produce fuel ethanol with superior economics and better environmental performance compared with current processes.”
Diversa Corporation is a leader in applying proprietary genomic technologies for the rapid discovery and optimization of novel protein-based products. The Company is directing its integrated portfolio of technologies to the discovery, evolution, and production of commercially valuable molecules with agricultural, chemical, industrial, and pharmaceutical applications. Diversa has established alliances and joint ventures with market leaders, such as Bayer Animal Health, Cargill Health and Food Technologies, DuPont Bio-Based Materials, GlaxoSmithKline, Medarex, Merck, and Xoma. In addition, the Company has formed a broad strategic relationship with Syngenta AG, a world-leading agribusiness company. Diversa has commercialized products both independently and in collaboration with strategic partners and licensees.
(Cf. news from June 30, 2005.)
Source: Diversa-Press release July 11, 2005.