OPX Biotechnologies Inc. (OPXBIO), a renewable chemical and biofuel company, today announced that it has achieved the commercial bioprocess performance and cost goals for its first product, BioAcrylic. In just 18 months of pilot-scale development, OPXBIO has demonstrated a manufacturing process for making performance-equivalent BioAcrylic that is lower cost and more sustainable than petroleum-based acrylic.
Based on its pilot process results, OPXBIO achieved a commercial-scale manufacturing cost of 70 cents-per-pound for its BioAcrylic using corn sugar feedstock or 55 cents-per-pound using cane sugar feedstock in Brazil. The production cost for petroleum-based acrylic is on the rise and is currently estimated to be 75 cents-per-pound. The company’s pilot process achieved 79 percent production yield generating 70 grams-per-liter bioproduct concentration in 26-hour fermentations. During the next stage of larger demonstration-scale production, the company expects to further improve the BioAcrylic process toward its ultimate manufacturing cost target of 50 cents-per-pound using corn sugar and less than 40 cents-per-pound using cane sugar.
“By completing development of the pilot-scale process to make BioAcrylic at lower cost than petroleum-based acrylic, OPXBIO has achieved a key milestone and validated the power of its proprietary EDGE™ technology,” said Charles R. (Chas) Eggert, president and CEO of OPXBIO. “We completed this milestone with high speed and capital efficiency that is unprecedented in the bio-based chemical industry. We are now moving to larger demonstration-scale processing with the plan to begin commercial-scale BioAcrylic production in 2014.”
OPXBIO uses its proprietary Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering (EDGE™) technology to engineer high-performing microbes and bioprocesses faster and better than is possible with conventional methods. Its BioAcrylic will directly replace petroleum-based acrylic in the existing $8 billion global market. Acrylic is used to make consumer and industrial products such as diapers, detergents, paints and adhesives.
“Utilizing the OPXBIO EDGE technology, we were able to rapidly engineer a microbe and bioprocess with unparalleled performance,” said Dr. Michael Lynch, chief scientific officer and co-founder of OPXBIO. “Based on our pilot-scale results, the microbe and bioprocess are able to produce BioAcrylic at high rates and yields with the robustness required for a profitable commercial-scale business.”
OPXBIO uses its proprietary leading EDGE™ (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology to manufacture renewable bio-based chemicals and fuels that are lower cost, higher return, and more sustainable than existing petro-based products. With unprecedented speed and capital efficiency, in just 18 months OPXBIO has developed and piloted the microbe and bioprocess that will produce its first renewable chemical product — BioAcrylic — at lower cost than petro-acrylic with a 75% reduction in green house gas emissions. The company’s second product is diesel fuel bio-processed from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. OPXBIO has raised $22.4 million with venture investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Altira Group, and X/Seed Capital.
Source: OPX Biotechnologies, Inc., press release, 2011-02-14.