TerraVia: No Going Back

Jim Lane   At the outset of his historic Conquest, Cortés gathered the men and burned the boats. As TerraVia jettisons its break-out industrial product line and completes the pivot to Food, what lies ahead in the New World? Gromeko: They’ve shot the Czar. And all his family. Oh, that’s a savage deed. What’s it for? Zhivago: It’s to show there’s no going back. Dr. Zhivago In California, TerraVia (TVIA) recorded a loss of $27.4M for Q2 2016 on revenues of $9.9M as the company made milestone announcements in its transition from industrials to nutrition including...

BioAmber: Fingers Crossed

by Debra Fiakas CFA Plastic is everywhere  -  our homes and offices, the cars we drive, our personal items, food containers and even our dental fillings.  Plastic is also toxic.  Dioxins, BPA (bisphenol A) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), both of which are critical chemicals in plastics, have been identified as endocrine disruptors, upsetting hormonal balance, triggering the growth of tumors and interfering with sexual development in fetuses. Even people who deliberately avoid plastics are exposed to the toxicity.  For example, we ingest BPA when eating fish that lived in waters contaminated with plastics.  Remember that ‘island’...

American Refining Group Joins Amyris And Cosan In Renewable Base Oil JV

Jim Lane IIn California, American Refining Group has committed to a 33.3% equity investment into Novvi , a joint venture of Amyris (AMRS) and Cosan (CZZ). Both Amyris and Cosan will continue to hold share ownership stakes in Novvi, together with ARG. It’s not a tiny market by any means. The global markets for base oils and lubricants, are expected to reach $42 billion and $70 billion in size, respectively, by 2020, according to Amyris. For ARG: Why Novvi, why now? Think novel performance. It goes in two directions. First, there’s low-carbon performance customers want...

Amyris: Biochemical Bargain?

Industrial bio-chemical developer Amyris, Inc. (AMRS:  Nasdaq) has been in the headlines recently  -  some pointing to solid fundamental progress, others ‘not so much.’  Amyris recently announced a new relationship with Givaudan (GIVN: VX), a supplier of active ingredients for cosmetics.  The two have agreed to collaborate in research and development on proprietary fragrances.  Earlier this month Amyris announced the launch by Takasago International Corporation (TYO:  4914) of a new fragrance created with Amyris’ technology. Cosmetics and fragrances present large market opportunities and the strength of demand for personal care products supports strong profit margins.  The relationships are likely...

Amryris: Zombie With Attitude

Jim Lane Zombies with attitude. New partnerships for making magic molecules and exploitin’ the heck out of ’em. These days, nothing in Hollywood beats a great zombie movie, more than 50 have been released in recent years. Zombies rise from the dead, and change everything around them. It’s not always pretty, or predictable, but they’re a disruptive force. Well, Amyris (AMRS) is proving to be a zombie story these days starting with being labeled a “zombie company” by The Motley Fool. TMF writes: Amyris was a pioneering industrial biotech that went from darling of the field to a company now trading well...

From Fuel To Fudge

by Debra Fiakas CFA This week the last reminder of the renewable fuels business that was once called Solazyme will be gone.  The old Solazyme has abandoned the goal of producing renewable fuels using the oils from algae.  Instead, under a new name TerraVia, the company is directing its algae cultivation and harvesting knowhow toward growing edible algae for food and personal care products.  To make the change complete the old stock symbol ‘SYZM’ gives way this week to a new trading symbol ‘TVIA.’ No doubt there is more than just a little hope in Terra...

Amyris Inks $100M+ Biofene Supply Pact

Jim Lane In California, the Eco-Emirs of Emeryville, Amyris (AMRS) executed a five year Biofene supply agreement with a global nutraceuticals company. Upping the ante from January This new, long-term agreement replaces the parties’ one-year purchase agreement, which was previously announced on January 4, 2016. More on that deal here. Under the new supply agreement, the mystery customer has agreed to a larger Biofene purchase in 2016 with an expected revenue contribution of approximately $9 million and to minimum annual purchase commitments in each of the remaining years of the agreement. In addition, under the new agreement, Amyris...

Biobased’s Hot Babes Hook Up

Comet, BioAmber in big cellulosic sugar partnership Jim Lane In Ontario, Comet Biorefining has signed an off-take agreement with bio-succinic acid producer BioAmber (BIOA) for cellulosic dextrose from Comet’s upcoming first commercial plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The dextrose will be produced from agricultural residues using Comet’s innovative technology. The agreement also provides increasing shape to the development of an biobased industrial cluster in the Sarnia region of Ontario a corn-growing region where farmers will provide agricultural residues which will be processed into industrial-grade cellulosic dextrose by Comet. In turn, BioAmber will be the offtake partner for those...

Three Renewables Companies: No Pain, No Gain

Jim Lane In California and Canada this week, BioAmber (BIOA), Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) and the former Solazyme (SZYM) reported their Q4 and year-end results, providing between them a fascinating look at the evolution in the fuels, renewable chemicals, specialty products and nutrition that make up the advanced bioeconomy. In advanced nutrition The most spectacular news of the week belonged to TerraVia (formerly SolaZyme), which landed a 5-year, $200 million “baseload” offtake deal with Unilever, which provides a huge lift for investors and validates the economics and performance of the company’s first commercial plant, which it operates in a...

Solazyme’s Not-So-Puzzling Rebranding

Jim Lane Solazyme undergoes Focus Reassignment Surgery and re-emerges as TerraVia. Industrials to spin off, nutrition the focus now. The what, the why, and the “why now?” In California, Solazyme (SZYM) said that it is now focusing exclusively on food, nutrition and specialty ingredients, renaming the company TerraVia. Having elevated CEO and co-founder Jonathan Wolfson to the Executive Chairman post, the company says it is on the hunt for a food-business CEO, and has raised $28M from a group of foodie investors including Glenhill Capital, VMG Partners, PowerPlant Ventures, ARTIS Ventures, Simon Equities and several influential food industry...

Can Amyris Triple Sales In 2016?

Jim Lane Despite a dismal beginning to earnings season, as Amyris, Arcadia disappoint, the Eco-Emirates of Emeryville look set for huge expansion in 2016. In California, Amyris (AMRS) reported Q4 revenues of $9.6mn and a net loss for Q4 of $41.9 million ($34 million after elimination of non-recurring items), well below Wall Street consensus estimates of $32.4 million. “The fourth quarter resulted in our best renewable product sales quarter to date during 2015 while also highlighting our challenge in completing our product finishing and shipping in time for one of our customers,” said Amyris CEO John Melo,...

Mitsui Raises Stake In BioAmber JV

Jim Lane In Canada, Mitsui has invested an additional CDN$25 million in the BioAmber (BIOA) joint venture for 10% of the equity, increasing its stake from 30% to 40%. Mitsui will also play a stronger role in the commercialization of bio-succinic acid produced in Sarnia, providing dedicated resources alongside BioAmber’s commercial team. BioAmber will maintain a 60% controlling stake in the joint venture. “Mitsui is continuously committed to renewable chemistry and through our increased equity stake we will be more actively involved in joint venture management and sales, leveraging our global sales platforms,” said Hidebumi Kasuga, General Manager, Specialty...

Dyadic Sells Industrial Technology Business To Dupont

Jim Lane As Dyadic cashes out of industrial biotech and retains a C1 license for pharma, DSM and Syngenta also announce a partnership. Companies are girding their loins for the long haul. The Digest takes a look, In Florida, DuPont (DD) Industrial Biosciences will acquire substantially all of the enzyme and technology assets Dyadic’s (DYAI) Industrial Technology business for $75 million, including Dyadic’s C1 platform, a technology for producing enzyme products used in a broad range of industries. DuPont has granted back to Dyadic co-exclusive rights to the C1 technology for use in human and animal pharmaceutical...

BioAmber’s Sarnia Plant Operating At Commercial Scale

Jim Lane Ultra-secret yeast tech also exceeding expectations in yield, productivity and quality, BioAmber reports. Baby Sarnia checks in at 60 million pounds, no ounces, doing fine. In Canada, BioAmber’s (BIOA) Sarnia joint venture with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. has begun shipping bio-succinic acid to customers and is operating its manufacturing process at commercial scale, meeting a significant company milestone, the company said. Yeast biotechnology exceeds performance targets BioAmber has confirmed the performance of its proprietary yeast in the production fermenters in Sarnia. The fermentation performance achieved is significantly above the initial targets set for...

The Velocity of Amyris

Jim Lane What makes Amyris (AMRS), Amyris? We look at the products, the evolution of the story, the partners, the focus on yield, and deeper into the story of Rate. “I mean, man, whither goest thou? Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” “Whither goest thou?” echoed Dean with his mouth open. We sat and didn’t know what to say; there was nothing to talk about any more. The only thing to do was go.” Jack Kerouac, On the Road Amyris experienced last month what CEO John Melo referred to as “our...

Lower Revenues at Solazyme, But Also Lower Losses and New Customers

Jim Lane In California, Solazyme (SZYM) reported Q2 revenues of $11.7M compared with $15.9M in Q22014. GAAP net loss was $37.2 million for Q2 2015, compared to net loss of $42.9M in the prior year period. The company said that “year over year decline in revenues was due to expected decreases in funded program revenue as well as in product revenue due to the timing of certain Algenist sales activities and slower than anticipated adoption rates for Encapso.” The market responded to the results by slashing the stock price 20 percent in Friday trading. Analyst reaction was more positive,...