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Codexis advances discussions in new fuels agreement with Shell for commercializing cellulase enzyme technology

Codexis, Inc., a developer of cost-advantaged processes for the production of biofuels, bio-based chemicals and pharmaceuticals, has signed an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with Shell. Under this agreement, Shell has agreed to negotiate exclusively with Codexis through 1 September 2012 the terms of a new agreement under which Shell would grant to the company certain rights and licenses in the biofuels field to develop and sell cellulase enzymes to third parties on a worldwide basis, except Brazil.

Codexis has exclusive rights to commercialize its cellulase enzyme technology in all other fields.

Currently, Codexis’ cellulase enzyme technology can only be commercialized in the advanced biofuels field through Shell and its affiliates. If we finalize a new agreement with Shell as we currently anticipate, the rest of the world’s second generation biofuels producers will now also be available as target customers for our cost effective cellulase enzyme technology.

—John Nicols, Codexis’ President and CEO

Codexis and Shell also agreed under the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement that, beginning on 31 August2012, Shell can elect to reduce between 13 and 48 full-time employee equivalents (FTEs) under the Codexis – Shell Collaborative Research Agreement upon one-day notice. Previously, the required notice period for this type of FTE reduction was 90 days. If Shell were to provide Codexis with an FTE reduction notice on or after 31 August 2012, Codexis expects that it would take appropriate cost reduction measures to reduce its operating expenses.

Codexis, Inc. is a developer of processes for the production of biofuels, bio-based chemicals, and pharmaceutical intermediates. Codexis’ product lines include CodeXyme Cellulase Enzymes and CodeXol Detergent Alcohol.

The company recently unveiled results from the pilot-scale demonstration of its enzyme-based carbon capture technology conducted at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Wilsonville, Alabama. Codexis developed this patented technology under a license granted by CO2 Solutions, Inc.

The field test, on flue gas emitted from a Southern Company’s power plant, shows that enzymes have promise to facilitate CO2 capture at coal-fired power plants. This is the largest scale that enzyme-based carbon capture technology has been demonstrated to date, with the equivalent daily capture rate of 1,800 average sized trees per day.

In May 2010, Codexis received $4.7 million from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to develop an active enzyme called carbonic anhydrase (CA), which catalyzes the transfer of carbon dioxide in nature.

With ARPA-E’s funding, Codexis saw the largest improvement in an enzyme the company has ever seen: a 2-million-fold improvement in thermal stability at temperatures between 140 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, preliminary analysis indicates the enzyme-based carbon capture technology can substantially reduce parasitic energy loss compared to the current state-of-the-art MEA technology.

Using Codexis’ enzyme-based carbon capture technology, power plant operators may be able to capture carbon much more efficiently. By partnering with CO2 Solutions, we were able to access their broad patent portfolio, which covers various processes for the use of carbonic anhydrase, and apply Codexis technology to make biocatalysts work under harsh, real-world conditions.

—James Lalonde, Ph.D., Vice President of Biochemistry and Engineering Research and Development, Codexis


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