Genomatica announced the latest results from the use of their proprietary, integrated biotechnology platform. Genomatica uses their platform to develop processes that harness biotechnology as an integral part of converting alternative feedstocks to major chemicals. Genomatica leveraged their platform to create microorganisms that achieved a ‘titer’ (concentration of product) of over 50 grams per liter for one of their programs in less than half the time required by an earlier program. This level is a relevant milestone on the path toward a commercial process and highlights one of the major aspects of the platform – its ability to rapidly engineer microorganisms to produce chemicals that may not be naturally produced by a chosen microbe.
Genomatica’s first commercial process, GENO BDO™, was developed using their platform and was notable for three reasons: the company reached commercial-scale production in only five years; the process directly converts feedstocks to a chemical that is not naturally produced; and the thousands of tons of BDO produced to date continues to lead the industry in production of a high-volume intermediate chemical from renewable feedstocks. The BDO program required 27 months to reach over 50 grams per liter. The latest example was achieved as part of Genomatica’s butadiene development program. In this program, too, Genomatica is using its platform to design a microorganism and process to make a chemical that is not naturally produced; and in this case, only 10 months were needed to reach the 50 grams per liter. Genomatica believes this improved performance represents the high leverage that can be achieved from their integrated biotechnology platform.
“Our biotechnology platform enabled us to deliver a commercial process for BDO in only five years, even though we were still establishing some of the key elements back then,” said Mark Burk, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Genomatica. “Now, we have more thoroughly integrated our computational and experimental capabilities, especially with regard to certain high-throughput and precision experimentation technologies. This puts us in a position to take full advantage of our platform for butadiene and nylon intermediates and beyond. Pragmatically, a good technology platform should drive down cost and timelines to commercialization. We intend to put our proven asset to good use as we work with industry partners to develop and commercialize processes for additional chemicals.”
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Genomatica is a widely-recognized technology leader for the chemical industry. It develops manufacturing processes that enable its licensee partners to produce the world’s most widely-used chemicals a ‘better way,’ from alternative feedstocks, with better economics and greater sustainability than petroleum-based processes.
Genomatica has delivered the industry’s first commercial biobased process for a high-volume intermediate chemical. Its GENO BDO™ process has produced thousands of tons of BDO and been licensed by BASF and Novamont. Multiple large chemical firms have publicly validated quality or described commercialization plans, including Invista (for its well-known Lycra® spandex), DSM, Lanxess, Toray, and Far Eastern New Century.
Genomatica’s biotechnology platform and over 500 patents and applications enable it to develop processes for additional major chemicals. The next is for butadiene, with Versalis and Braskem as partners, and over $100 million in industry support. Genomatica has also announced a program to develop processes for the production of nylon intermediates, including HMD, caprolactam and adipic acid.
Genomatica has earned tremendous recognition for its innovation, commercialization track record, and potential for broad impact. This recognition includes the Kirkpatrick Award, for ‘the most noteworthy chemical engineering technology commercialized in the world,’ and the 2015 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer award.