Global Bioenergies, Synthos open pathway to biobased butadiene with R&D milestone

December 6, 2012 |

In France, Global Bioenergies and Synthos announced the discovery of a direct biological pathway to convert renewable resources into butadiene, a light olefin lying at the heart of the petrochemical industry.

Presently, 10 million tons of butadiene are produced each year from oil, representing a market exceeding $20 billion. 7 million tons are used to manufacture rubbers; 3 million tons are used to manufacture nylon, plastics and latexes.

In July 2011, Global Bioenergies entered into a strategic partnership with Synthos, a $1.2billion revenues European leader in rubber manufacturing. The agreement aimed at developing a process to convert renewable feedstock into butadiene.

The first phase of the partnership was dedicated to the discovery of metabolic pathways to convert renewable resources into butadiene through a direct, gaseous fermentation process.
This discovery phase has now been successfully accomplished: for the first time ever a direct biological route to butadiene has been experimentally proven. Several patents have been filed to protect these biological assets.

The success of this first phase triggered a €1.5million milestone payment to Global Bioenergies. The butadiene program now enters the development phase, for which Synthos will contribute several million euros in total through yearly fees.

Global Bioenergies shall receive royalty payments from Synthos on bio-sourced butadiene used for the manufacturing of rubber. Global Bioenergies retains the exclusive rights for non-rubber applications, such as nylon, plastics and latexes, representing an existing market exceeding $6 billion.

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