Genomatica Withdraws IPO, Instead Raises $41.5M in Private Financing

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some of its competitors, because the company’s business plan “is more of a licensing model, like Qualcomm’s.” San Diego-based Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), which is the world’s largest provider of wireless chips, hires semiconductor foundries to manufacture its products and licenses its technology to telecommunications-equipment makers, cell-phone makers, and others.

It was the first time I’ve heard Schilling describe Genomatica’s business model as a technology licensing strategy, although the company has disclosed several industrial development partnerships with Tate & Lyle, Novamont, and Waste Management.

Using genetically engineered microbes, Genomatica has developed technology for making 1,4-butanediol (BDO), an intermediate industrial chemical usually made from petroleum-based feedstocks, from renewable raw materials like corn syrup and sugar cane. Genomatica has the capability, though, to apply its technology to produce an array of other petrochemicals from renewable raw materials.

In emerging from its year of silence, Genomatica disclosed several other recent milestones:

—Forming a joint venture with Novamont, a new Italian bioplastic manufacturer, for industrial-scale production of BDO, with initial production scheduled for 2013.

—Reaching a limited exclusivity agreement with Mitsubishi Chemical for producing BDO in Asia.

—Genomatica said it also had signed a memorandum of understanding with Versalis and Novamont for a partnership in bio-based butadiene.

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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