Rho Renewables: The Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

October 18, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoRho Renewables, Inc. is using both classical yeast genetic engineering and modern molecular biology tools to develop powerful fermentation systems for the high-yield production of monocyclic aromatic compounds that have significant market potential. Rho’s lead compounds are high value specialty chemicals, biofuels, and flavors and fragrances including Meta-cresol, Rhoctane, Vanillin and Orsellinic acid and derivatives as well as both novel and known plastics components.

The high value specialty aromatics can be biosynthesized in yeast in a clean and sustainable manner that circumvents the use of toxic starting materials found in the corresponding chemical synthetic systems for these products. The Company has developed proprietary technology for both the acetate and shikimate pathways to these types of chemicals. Rho’s fermentation systems are designed to be compatible with existing manufacturing technologies, and will also be capable of producing certain non-aromatic compounds.

The Situation

Rho’s R&D efforts are directed towards the generation of genetically modified yeast capable of making various high value aromatic specialty chemicals, the high energy/high octane biofuel Rhoctane(TM), styrene and selected flavors and fragrances. Rho has a strategic partnership and is self financed as a semi-virtual corporation.

Where’s Rho aimed? A defined conversion rate and yield of its “mystery compound” at a 1000 liter scale, and proof of concept for at least two more compounds, over the next 12 months — and the company aims to add at least one more strategic partnership. Asia is a focus as well as partners mutually interest in making chemical intermediates from renewable feedstock.

Top past Milestones

1. Sasol Partnership, achieved all milestones.

2. Groundbreaking discovery; certain specialty chemicals and biofuel volatilize out of fermenter, positively altering downstream processing economics.

3. Proof of concept for Rhoctane┢ (3-methylanisone) High Octane Biofuel, Orsellinic acid and derivatives, and Vanillin, among others.

Top future Milestones

1. Pilot of lead specialty chemical

2. Commercialization of lead specialty chemical

3. New partnership(s) for specialty chemical or biofuel already having achieved proof of concept

Business Model

Rho is an R&D organization that plans to license its technology. We will conduct all lab-scale work up to 1,000 litre fermentations and continue to optimize partnerâ’€’™s strains throughout life of products. We plan to get a royalty on sales, as well.

Competitive advantage

Rho has a deep knowledge of classical yeast genetics combined with modern molecular biology. Similarly, we have a deep understanding of the patent landscape regarding polyketides and other methods for making aromatic compounds in yeast.

Stage of development

About 18-24 months away from piloting its first partnered specialty chemical.

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