Company initiatives, Earnings

Amyris updates partnership deals

I’ve been reading Amyris’ recently filed annual report (10-K) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which gives a comprehensive summary of the company’s performance last year, and it reminds the blog how difficult and risky it is for a company to establish and commercialize new technologies especially within traditional, matured markets such as the fuel and chemical industries.

Anyway, Amyris has some good news to announce such as a possible $30m funding coming in by July this year from Total as part of a revised collaboration agreement announced last year. Amyris and Total could also form a joint venture company by mid-2013 to market renewable diesel, jet fuel and other specialty products that will use Amyris’ farnesene molecule marketed under the brand Biofene.

Amyris said it has also expanded the scope of its Novvi joint venture with sugar firm Cosan to include renewable additives and finished lubricants for industrial, commercial and automotive uses in addition to the original scope of renewable base oils. Amyris will initially supply Biofene to Novvi for finishing into final products until the joint venture builds its own farnesene production capacity. As co-owners of Novvi, Amyris and Cosan would continue to share its development, marketing and operating costs.

From what the blog recalls in August 2011, Amyris has contracted chemical firm Albemarle to toll-produce the Biofene-based lubricant base oils under the brand NovaSpec for Novvi at Albemarle’s Orangeburg, South Carolina facility.

Finally, Amyris said it has met technical milestones at its production plant in Brazil, to satisfy the conditions for a follow-on common stock investment of $5m, which Amyris received last week from its existing investor Biolding Invesment SA.  The funding was the final trance of Biolding’s preexisting contractual obligation to fund $15m upon satisfaction of certain performance conditions at Amyris’ Biofene plant. (I just copied this word-for-word)

The blog also wanted to mention another recent announcement from Amyris stating that Brazilian agribusiness firm Tonon Bioenergia has signed a contract to acquire the Paraiso Bioenergia sugarcane mill, which supplies feedstock to Amyris’s farnesene production in Brotas, Brazil. Amyris said the acquisition will not affect its operations in Brotas, which started shipments of Biofene in late January.

Finally as I was scouring Amyris’ 10-K filing, some of the updates that caught my eye include Amyris’ collaboration with M&G to incorporate Biofene as an ingredient in M&G’s polyethylene terephthalat (PET) resins; and collaboration with Michelin tire company for development and production of isoprene.

With the M&G collaboration, which was announced in 2010 and amended in April 2011, Amyris said it has expanded the collaboration deal to include a cellulosic feasibility study and that M&G may purchase Biofene from Amyris upon successful completion of product integration. Amyris and M&G’s subsidiary Chemtex will share the costs incurred associated with the PET collaboration on a 50/50 basis. Unfortunately, no word yet on when a possible farnesene-based PET production will commence.

As for the isoprene development with Michelin, which was announced in September 2011, the two companies expect to continue to collaborate on the development, production and worldwide commercialization of isoprene for tire applications using Biofene. 

Michelin has agreed to pay an upfront payment of $5m, subject to a reimbursement provision under which the Company would have to repay $1.0 million if it fails to achieve specified future technical milestones. Michelin can notify Amyris of its desired date for initial delivery, and the parties will either collaborate to establish a production facility or use an existing Amyris facility for production.

The agreement has an initial term that will expire upon the earlier of 42 months from the effective date and the completion of a development work plan.

Amyris roll out its first truckload shipment of Biofene in January

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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