Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX) a bioscience company focused on developing clean, sustainable solutions for plastics, fuels, and chemicals, announced today that it has initiated a program to develop an advanced industrial oilseed crop to produce bioplastics. Oilseeds are the primary feedstock for the more than 250 million gallons of biodiesel produced annually in the United States and the co-production of bioplastics promises to improve the economics of this crop industry.
As part of this initiative, Metabolix has established strategic research collaboration with noted oilseed experts at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a leading not-for-profit research institute in St. Louis. Metabolix will assemble a team of scientists to establish a research and development presence in St. Louis. The team will work closely with Danforth’s Principal Investigators Drs. Jan Jaworski, Edgar Cahoon and Joseph Jez. This collaboration is supported financially by a 2-year, $1.14 million grant from the Missouri Life Sciences Trust Fund to the Danforth Center.
“The Danforth Center has extensive experience in oilseed technology. Combining their experience with Metabolix’s patented technologies could expedite the commercialization of multiple products in oilseed crops. This technology is expected to play an important role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Dr. Oliver Peoples, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Metabolix. “This initiative aims to create another biobased route to economically produce bioplastics and biofuels in high yields directly in non food crops.”
Industrial oilseeds represent the third crop system to which Metabolix is applying its patented technology. The company is a leader in developing enhanced switchgrass, and is also developing sugarcane crops to co-produce biobased and biodegradable plastic within the leaves and stems of these crops to more economically meet clean energy and bioplastic needs globally.
Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation driven bioscience company focused on providing sustainable solutions for the world’s needs for plastics, fuels and chemicals. The Company is taking a systems approach, from gene to end product, integrating sophisticated biotechnology with advanced industrial practice. Metabolix is now developing and commercializing Mirel™ bioplastics, a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to petroleum based plastics. Mirel is suitable for injection molding, extrusion coating, cast film and sheet, blown film and thermoforming. Metabolix is also developing a proprietary platform technology for co-producing plastics, biofuels and chemical products in energy crops such as switchgrass, oilseeds and sugarcane.
Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) are commercializing Mirel through a joint venture called Telles. The first commercial scale Mirel production plant is being constructed adjacent to ADM’s wet corn mill in Clinton, Iowa. The plant is expected to begin operations in late 2008 and is designed to produce up to 110 million pounds of Mirel annually. Mirel will reduce reliance on petroleum and decrease environmental impacts relative to conventional petroleum based plastics.
Source: Metabolix, Inc., press release, 2008-02-08.