Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic biomass-to-ethanol company (earlier post), has raised $30 million in its second round of venture funding. The financing was led by General Catalyst Partners, with additional participation from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Vantage Point Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, and Pinnacle Ventures, as well as existing investors Khosla Ventures and Flagship Ventures.
Mascoma will use this round of funding for further research, the development and construction of new demonstration facilities, and designing commercial facilities for additional buildout.
Mascoma Corporation was founded earlier this year to pursue the development of advanced cellulosic ethanol technologies based on work developed in Professor Lee Lynd’s labs at Dartmouth College across a range of cellulosic feedstocks. Lynd is one of the scientific founders of Mascoma, as is University of California professor Charles Wyman.
The company closed a $4M Series A funding from Khosla Ventures and Flagship Ventures in July 2006.
Mascoma focuses on consolidating the many biologically mediated steps involved in ethanol production into a single step (Consolidated Bioprocessing, CBP). Mascoma is developing organisms to break down the cellulose, ferment sugar, tolerate high concentrations of ethanol and to devote most of their metabolic resources to ethanol production.
Mascoma’s lead organism for this thermophilic Simultaneous Saccarification and co-Fermentation (tSSCF) process is Thermoanaerobacterium saccharolyticum. The company recently presented results at the 28th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals describing the successful modification of this organism to produce stoichiometric quantities of ethanol from a xylose feed.