Diversa and Celunol Complete Merger to Create Verenium
21 June 2007
Verenium owns a growing portfolio of specialty enzyme products and unique technical and operational capabilities designed to enable the production of low-cost, biomass-derived sugars for a multitude of major industrial applications. The most significant near-term commercial opportunity for Verenium will be the large-scale commercial production of cellulosic ethanol derived from multiple biomass feedstocks.
Verenium recently completed a significant upgrade of one of the nation’s first operational cellulosic ethanol pilot facilities located in Jennings, Louisiana and expects to achieve mechanical completion of a 1.4 million gallon-per-year, demonstration-scale facility to produce cellulosic ethanol by the end of 2007.
In addition, the Company's process technology has been licensed by Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp. and Tsukishima Kikai Co., LTD and has been incorporated into BioEthanol Japan’s 1.4 million liter-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Osaka, Japan—the world’s first commercial-scale plant to produce cellulosic ethanol from wood construction waste. (Earlier post.)
Verenium begins operations with numerous unique attributes, including:
Fully-integrated, end-to-end capabilities in pre-treatment, novel enzyme development, fermentation, engineering, and project development;
One of the only operational cellulosic ethanol pilot plants in the United States;
A 1.4 million gallon-per-year demonstration-scale facility, currently under construction, to produce cellulosic ethanol from sugarcane bagasse and specially-bred energy cane;
A diverse and growing portfolio of commercialized industrial enzyme products; and
More than 300 issued or in-licensed patents for its technologies and processes, as well as over 450 pending patents.
Verenium will be structured and managed as three distinct, but interdependent, organizational units:
Specialty Enzymes Business Unit. The Specialty Enzymes Business Unit currently generates commercial revenue from multiple sources, including industrial enzyme product sales, technology licenses, strategic partnerships, and government grants.
Biofuels Business Unit. The Biofuels Business Unit will be primary focused on the commercial-scale production and sale of cellulosic ethanol from company-managed production facilities throughout the US, as well as strategic partnerships and related revenue arrangements around the world.
Research and Development. The Research and Development organization's primary goal will be to support both Verenium Business Units, as well as various existing strategic collaborative partners.
As of 31 March 2007, the Company had cash, cash-equivalents, and short-term investments on hand of approximately $125.5 million, which, together with approximately $20 million received in early April from the exercise of an over-allotment option related to the recent convertible notes offering, it believes to be sufficient to fund operations through at least 2008.
Verenium’s Board of Directors will initially consist of nine members, six from Diversa and three from Celunol, including Mr. Riva. The non-employee Board members are: Dr. James Cavanaugh, who will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors; Peter Johnson; Fernand Kaufmann, Ph.D.; Mark Leschly; Melvin Simon, Ph.D.; Cheryl Wenzinger; Joshua Ruch; and Michael Zak.
The Company's executive management team is being led by Carlos A. Riva, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director, and John A. McCarthy, Jr., Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Verenium will be headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and have research and operations facilities in San Diego, California; Jennings, Louisiana; and Gainesville, Florida. Due to the complementary nature of the two companies and the level of development activities being pursued, the company anticipates increasing its staff in Cambridge and Jennings, as well as building additional staff over time in San Diego to support the growth of the enzyme business and research and development efforts of the Company.
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