Verdezyne: Biofuels Digest’s 2014 5-Minute Guide

February 19, 2014 |

Verdezyne is a privately held company developing and commercializing novel genetically engineered microorganisms for use as “factories” to manufacture chemicals, using renewable feedstocks. Verdezyne’s unique microorganisms permit greener, cleaner and more cost effective production of chemicals as compared with traditional methods. The Company is commercializing its technology through partnerships with leading chemical manufacturers.

Rankings

30 Hottest Companies in Biobased Chemicals & Materials: #21, 2013-14

Major Investors 
OVP Venture Partners
Monitor Ventures

Type of Processing Technology(ies):
Verdezyne is a product-focused company that is leveraging its technology platform to optimize the metabolic pathways, microorganisms and fermentation processes that enable economical production of renewable chemicals.

Products:

Dodecanedioic acid (DDDA)

Dodecanedioic acid (DDDA) is used in the production of high performance nylon 6,12, molding resins, in addition to lubricants, adhesives and powder coatings. It is traditionally produced from butadiene via a multi-step chemical process. Verdezyne has leveraged its yeast platform for cost-advantaged production of DDDA from low cost plant sourced oil feedstocks. With an addressable and rapidly growing market of over $250 million per year, Verdezyne’s bio-based DDDA is a valuable target intermediate which will transform the nylon 6,12 market.

Sebacic Acid

Sebacic acid is an intermediate used in the production of nylon 6,10, a plastic widely used in everyday household items like toothbrush bristles and fishing line. It is also found in coatings, adhesives and polyester resins. Sebacic acid is currently produced from a limited supply of castor oil. Verdezyne has demonstrated proof of concept for cost advantaged production of sebacic acid from widely available low cost plant sourced oil feedstocks. A $600 million annual market provides a compelling opportunity for commercialization of Verdezyne’s technology

Adipic Acid

Adipic acid is a key component of nylon 6,6 and thermoplastic polyurethanes. Everyday products which contain adipic acid include clothing, footwear, furniture, carpets, automobile parts and nylon fabric. Verdezyne is currently the only company that has demonstrated production and recovery of adipic acid at pilot scale through fermentation of low cost plant sourced oil feedstocks. Adipic acid is a $6.3 billion annual market, and is currently produced from benzene, a carcinogenic petroleum fraction.

Feedstocks:
C6 sugars, C5 sugars (biomass, cellulosic sugars), plant-based oils, by-products from plant-based oil processing, paraffins

Co-products
Feed

Past Milestones

  • Production of adipic acid biologically
  • Partnership agreement with Lallemand Ethanol Technologies to develop and commercialize a genetically enhanced high-yield ethanol producing yeast
  • Production of adipic acid from plant-based oil (mixed fatty acids)
  • In January 2012, the company was awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,093,037, titled “Engineered Microorganisms With Enhanced Fermentation Activity” for the company’s engineering of a yeast which incorporates xylose isomerase, a key enzyme in the fermentation of certain pentose (“C-5”) sugars to ethanol and other products.
  • In December 2012, Verdezyne announced the sale of its proprietary xylose isomerase technology, enabling the metabolism of 5-carbon sugars, to DuPont Industrial Biosciences. Under the terms of the sale, DuPont purchased rights to Verdezyne’s patented xylose isomerase technology, covered by U.S. Patent Nos. 8,114,974 and 8,093,037, for use in the rapidly-commercializing biofuels and biochemical fields.
  • In August, Verdezyne was granted U.S. Patent No. 8,241,879, titled “Biological Methods for Preparing Adipic Acid.” This covers one of the company’s proprietary processes for selectively converting non-petroleum oils into adipic acid – a key component used to manufacture sustainable nylon 6,6, thermoplastic polyurethane resins and coatings from renewable sources. Verdezyne has designed its proprietary adipic acid process specifically for the production of nylon 6,6. The company believes its renewably sourced adipic acid will be cost-advantaged compared with standard adipic acid, as well as being more environmentally-friendly.
  • In December 2012, Verdezyne has entered into a strategic relationship with Universal Fiber Systems, and its operating companies, Universal Fibers and Premiere L Fibers.  Verdezyne will supply its bio-based adipic acid to Universal Fiber Systems for certain exclusive fields of use.
  • In June 2013, Verdezyne entered into a collaboration with Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation in its assessment of Malaysia as the destination for its first biochemical production facility in the Asia Pacific Region. The collaboration is set to accelerate Verdezyne’s process to full-fledged commercialization following the success from its pilot plant that was established in November 2011, with an eye on Malaysian palm oil. Verdezyne is an industrial biotechnology company using proven and proprietary metabolic pathway engineering tools to develop unique yeast strains for cost-effective production of bio-based chemicals.
  • In September 2013 Verdezyne was awarded “BioNexus” status by Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation. BiotechCorp is an agency under the purview of the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. As part of its collaboration with BiotechCorp, Verdezyne expects to open a bio-based chemical production facility in Malaysia. BioNexus status is awarded to qualified companies undertaking value-added biotechnology and/or life sciences activities in Malaysia, and includes fiscal incentives, grants and other guarantees to assist growth. Verdezyne was awarded BioNexus status by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, The Right Honourable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak.

Future Milestones

  • Announce commercial adipic acid partner

Business Model:

Technology licensor

Competitive Edge(s):
Verdezyne is a product-focused company that is leveraging its technology platform to optimize the metabolic pathways, microorganisms and fermentation processes that enable economical production of renewable chemicals.

Verdezyne aggressively pursues intellectual property protection for all aspects of its technology platform and product portfolio. Verdezyne’s yeast platform, including the proprietary metabolic engineering methodology “Combinatorial Pathway Engineering” and trade secret algorithms for protein optimization, allows rapid and efficacious strain development with pathways for adipic acid and other chemicals.

 

Stage
Biobased Adipic Acid: lab-scale

Website

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Category: 5-Minute Guide

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