So far, Genomatica’s business model seems to be doing pretty well as the company tries to stay out of burning cash through manufacturing, letting its partners from the chemical industry do the commercial production and marketing, and Genomatica instead focuses on R&D of various fermentation-based chemicals for its technology licensing portfolio.
The company announced this week that it has entered the bio-based nylon intermediates market focusing on hexamethylenediamine (HMDA), caprolactam, and adipic acid. Genomatica is developing complete process technologies for the bio-based production of these intermediates, which it will then license to major firms in the nylon value chain.
The 3 chemicals reportedly has a market of over $18 billion per year, which are used primarily in the production of nylon 6 (or polyamide 6) and nylon 6,6 (PA 6,6).
Genomatica said it has been building a comprehensive set of nylon program assets over the last few years and has already 8 issued US patents, numerous pending applications worldwide, and trade secrets that include engineered strains, with some of the IP developed internally and some from a recent IP acquisition. Some of them were reportedly been validated already in experimental proofs of concept such as demonstration of certain metabolic pathways, production of certain nylon intermediates in various microorganisms, efficient methods to produce and recover certain nylon intermediates from the fermentation.
Development of commercial processes for nylon intermediates is expected to take several years, and follow a sequence of technical, partnership, scale-up and commercialization milestones. Genomatica is now looking for development partners.
Tecnon OrbiChem specializes in the analysis of the global polyamides market, of which I’ll certainly include in the next Bio-Materials newsletter issue, as well as tackling who’s who and who’s doing what in the bio-polyamides and intermediates sector.