Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc. is securing funding to advance progress toward the company’s targeted 2011 first commercialization, including scale up and commercial plant design activities. Amyris is a synthetic biology company using a platform of engineered yeast to produce a portfolio of renewable chemicals and transportation fuels.
Amyris has raised $41.75 million in the current Series C round, from new investors GrupoCornelioBrennand of Brazil and Naxos UK, as well as from previous investors including Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TPG Biotech and Votorantim Novos Negocios.
In recent months, Amyris has opened both a pilot plant and demonstration facility in Campinas, Brazil (earlier post), and advanced its work with an established engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) firm to complete detailed plant design and engineering plans. Amyris is in the process of securing its first production site and expects to begin to order equipment for this plant toward the end of the year.
Amyris anticipates additional closings this fall, targeting a total funding of approximately $60 million, which would bring total equity raised to-date to approximately $165 million.
Amyris is demonstrating market acceptance for its renewable chemicals and diesels, and expects to commercialize its first renewable product starting 2011. The Company has entered into its first off-take agreement for a chemical product with a leading global customer for that product, and has entered into a strategic agreement with one of the world’s largest consumer products companies pursuant to which Amyris chemicals may be developed and commercialized for use within this company’s portfolio of products.
Analyses to-date indicate that Amyris Renewable Diesel is inherently stable at cold temperatures, does not break down during storage and transport like conventional biodiesel, and offers a number of environmental benefits, including the elimination of sulfur and greatly reduced NOx, particulate, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon exhaust emissions.
In 2009, Amyris diesel was officially registered with the Environmental Protection Agency—the first hydrocarbon fuel made from plant-derived sources that has been registered for commercial sale in the US. (Earlier post.) Amyris diesel has also been featured in several on-road tests, including in a diesel hybrid bus used for the International Olympic Committee’s tour of Chicago as part of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.