Before I leave for my vacation, let me post this interesting news about METabolic EXplorer’s (METEX) recent announcement about its partnership with South Korea-based SK Chemicals Co. Ltd.
Instead of producing its own glycerine-based PDO (1,3 propanediol), France-based METEX decided to instead exclusively license its technology to SK Chemicals, and therefore the company has terminated its planned PDO facility in Malaysia as well as all other discussions of potential PDO partner negotiations.
In May, Malaysian biotech hub owner, Bio-Xcell, confirmed to the blog that METEX has been in the midst of negotiating a new contractual terms with them in order to resume plant construction of its planned 50 ktpa glycerol-based PDO plant on the Bio-Xcell site located in Iskandar, Malaysia.
METEX suspended the project last year, trying to resolve engineering and on-site issues with Bio-Xcell. METEX hired engineering firm, Technip, late last year to assess the overall cost of the project and to enable the company to optimize the engineering design of the plant, taking into account METEX’s latest technical improvements.
Technip has completed its assessment and confirmed that the PDO project was economically viable, with the initial allocation of a €38 million investment as well as the two-year time requirement for the construction of the plant when work is resumed. The facility was expected to have an initial production capacity of 8.9 ktpa and to co-produce butyric acid, a compound used in food flavoring and animal feed supplements, at a capacity of 2 ktpa. METEX was also in discussions with potential partners on effective ways to develop the value of its PDO technology.
Last year, METEX said it has signed two letters of intent with two international manufacturers to sell tonnage of its bio-PDO, which will be commercialized under the trade name Texerol. The two manufacturers’ commitments will reportedly absorb more than half of METEX’s planned 50 ktpa future production capacity. METEX has also been pursuing joint venture deals for bio-PDO, although the company said early this year that negotiations were taking longer than expected because of the global economic environment.
With this recent news, SK Chemicals will handle the commercialization of METEX’s bio-PDO technology although there was no specific information on the press release on where, when and how much bio-PDO SK Chemicals aim to commercialize.
I have reported about the bio-PDO market on several past issues of Tecnon OrbiChem’s Bio-Materials & Intermediates newsletter. More of the bio-PDO market will be discussed on the July issue to be published later this month.