French synthetic biology company that produces isobutene from sugars carries out IPO; 2.9x oversubscribed
Global Bioenergies, a France-based startup that has engineered a series of bacterial strains that can produce isobutene—a key chemical building block that can be converted into transportation fuels, polymers and various commodity chemicals—by transforming glucose in vivo (earlier post) successfully carried out an IPO on the French Alternext stock market (part of Euronext).
First trading was 15 June. The IPO had been 2.9 times oversubscribed, and the shares were introduced at €19.85 (US$28.40), the upper limit of the indicated price range. As of 20 June, the shares were trading 28% above this introduction price (€25.39), giving the company a market valuation of €40.12 million. (~US$57.4 million).
Global Bioenergies’s pathway involves enzymes carrying out reactions unobserved in nature. The process—essentially a biological analog of the Fischer-Tropsch process, but one that does not require a high-temperature step—involves the production of a gas that spontaneously volatilizes during the reaction. This characteristic of the process eliminates two major costs associated with fermentative pathways that produce a liquid product: inhibition due to accumulation of the product during the reaction, limiting overall yield; and product purification (distillation in the case of ethanol).