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LS9 Launches to Deliver Next-Generation Biofuels Through Synthetic Biology

LS9 Inc., a startup founded in 2005 to apply synthetic biology technology to production of proprietary biofuels, officially launched today. Synthetic biology is a cross-disciplinary endeavor that designs, optimizes and assembles well-characterized biological components into integrated systems to accomplish specific tasks.

LS9 is developing “Renewable Petroleum” biofuels through work pioneered by scientific founders Chris Somerville, Director of the Carnegie Institution and Professor of Plant Biology at Stanford University, and George Church, Director of the MIT-Harvard DOE GTL Center and Professor of Genetics at Harvard along with venture founders Flagship Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

Somerville is also on Berkeley Labs’s Helios Project advisory committee, and will participate in research projects within Helios areas focusing on synthetic biological approaches and integrated systems.

LS9’s products, currently under development, are designed to closely resemble petroleum-derived fuels, but be renewable, clean, domestically produced, and cost competitive. In addition to biofuels, LS9 will also develop industrial biochemicals for specialty applications.

Thanks to rapid advances in industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology along with the strength and talent of our scientific team, LS9 is uniquely suited to design, develop, and commercialize the next generation of biofuels.

—Chris Somerville

Since 2005, the company has pursued a highly focused research and development plan and amassed an extensive technology and intellectual property portfolio for the production of Renewable Petroleum biofuels. Doug Cameron, former head of biotechnology research at Cargill and acting Chief Executive Officer of LS9 Inc., said the advances stand to change the dynamics of the fuel market.

LS9 is pursuing a disruptive technology in a large established market. Our rate of scientific progress is a testament to the quality of the team we have assembled at LS9.

—Doug Cameron

The company also relies upon a distinguished scientific advisory board including leaders in the fields of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, microbiology, enzymology, genomics, bioinformatics, and chemical engineering.




OK, we now have a company, it has a couple of scientists and some venture capital. Do they have a product? Do they have an actual idea for a product?


What do they plan to use as feedstock? That's the biggest barrier for biofuels; making stuff into petrochemical-like compounds is not a problem, it's getting adequate supplies of the 'stuff' that poses a challenge.


For all it sounds like vaporware, I hope they succeed.


Ok. We now have a press release. Do we have anything else?

Mark A

".......Synthetic biology is a cross-disciplinary endeavor that designs, optimizes and assembles well-characterized biological components into integrated systems to accomplish specific tasks....."

Anyone understand what that means??

Sort of a vague story, no meat, or details. Leaves us guessing. What can "closely resemble petroleum-derived fuels, while also being clean, some sort of dilythium chrystals or something? Again, where are the details? And yes, where, and what, is the feedstock for this going to be? Lests hope it is not to be taken from our food supply, again. My stomach is growling.


It sounds like they plan to use biological engineering/technology wherever they can in developing fuels. I suppose they hope to develope organizisms that produce readily recoverable fuels sort of like the bateria that have been modified to produce human insulin:

Basically this is nothing more than announcement that they exist and hope to create something.

Mark A

I hope if this they develop some sort of bacteria, it will be highly guarded. Would hate to see al queda, or some rogue country, release this bacteria somewhere and wipe out half the planet and create rivers and lakes full of gasohol.


"Proprietary biofuels"? - meaning they will be patenting these artificial biofuel molecules for maximum exploitation potential. Sounds like Soylent Green.


MIT+berkely+stanford+ a distinguished scientific advisory board+Khosla.I would say they are working on getting us beyond corn based ethanol.Check the Helios project,the pedigree of those researchers is jaw dropping.Look up this church guy,No moss gathering on this man.If we have hopes of moving beyond cornflake fuel it will be started in the labs of gents such as these.

Cheryl Ho

We see great potential for DME as a clean alternative fuel . The present diesel oil is a major source of air pollution from diesel engine of trucks and busses in large city like Tokyo. The potential market of diesel oil substitute is larger than LPG. DME is one of ideal fuel for diesel engine. DME vehicles were demonstratively manufactured in Japan, China and Korea and their driving test already started. Practical durability fleet test of a DME truck is under going in Japan.

We are pleased to organise a conference on China taking the lead in the DME market in production from coal and Japan and Korea activities.

If you would like to know more on COAL to Syngas to DME developments, join us at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information:

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