Verdezyne Gets $48M to Advance Industrial Biotechnology in Malaysia

President Obama and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak applauded a business deal in Malaysia yesterday, as the Malaysian agricultural conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad agreed to lead a $48 million investment in Verdezyne, the Carlsbad, CA-based industrial biotech.

The deal is expected to make Sime Darby the single largest investor in Verdezyne, which has committed itself to building its first commercial plant in Malaysia. The company, founded in 2005, genetically engineers various strains of yeast to produce key industrial chemicals like adipic acid and dodecanedioic acid (DDDA) that are currently made from petroleum-based intermediates.

The engineered yeast consumes sustainable raw material, such as palm oil, in fermentation tanks, to produce the valuable chemicals, which are used to make nylon, resins, lubricants, and other products. Sime Darby said it has formed a new business unit, Sime Darby Renewables, to work with Verdezyne to convert palm oil waste and related palm-based commodities into higher-value products.

The size of Sime Darby’s investment in Verdezyne was not disclosed in statements issued yesterday from Verdezyne and Sime Darby. However, the Green Chemical Blog reported that Sime Darby would invest $30 million to acquire a 30 percent stake in Verdezyne.

Existing investors BP Alternative Energy, Royal DSM, OVP Venture Partners, and Monitor Ventures joined … Next Page »

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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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