Aiming to ramp up the development of a new biomaterial-based liquid rubber, Kuraray Co. Ltd. (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Fumio Ito) has signed a new joint development agreement with Amyris, Inc. (Headquarters: Emeryville, California, U.S.A.; CEO: John Melo). In addition to the new development agreement, Kuraray has also made a strategic capital investment in Amyris.
- Kuraray has been expanding business related to liquid isoprene rubber and liquid butadiene rubber, focusing on applications for tires.
- In addition, we have developed liquid farnesene rubber (LFR), which uses Amyris’s new biologically derived diene monomer as a raw material.
- Adding LFR to the rubber used in the manufacture of tires has been found to reduce rolling resistance, leading to higher fuel efficiency.
- Since signing an initial agreement with Amyris in 2011, Kuraray has been working with tire manufacturers around the world to assess the benefits of LFR in tire performance.
Outline of Collaboration Expansion
1. Joint Development Agreement
- Extends the current 2011–2014 agreement for two additional years.
- Expands the scope of joint development using farnesene which includes hydrogenated styrene thermoplastic elastomers—one of Kuraray’s core businesses.
2. Strategic Investment
- Kuraray made a $4 million capital investment in Amyris
Amyris was founded in 2003 in the San Francisco Bay Area of California and develops advanced biotechnologies to convert plant sugars into a variety of molecules. The company was listed on the NASDAQ in 2010. The company’s bio-based products are being developed for a wide range of applications, including fragrances, cosmetics and personal care products, plastic additives, and renewable diesel and jet fuel.