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,...

Leather Without The Cow

Flokser launches Artificial Leather based on DuPont Tate & Lyle, BioAmber ingredients Jim Lane In Canada, BioAmber (BIOA) announced that the Flokser Group has successfully developed an innovative artificial leather fabric using bio-based materials supplied by DuPont (DD) Tate & Lyle Bio Products and BioAmber. Flokser has launched this new synthetic leather fabric under its SERTEX brand. The novel fabric comprises a polyester polyol made from BioAmber’s Bio-SA bio-based succinic acid and DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products’ Susterra bio-based 1,3-propanediol. Flokser’s artificial leather fabric has 70% renewable content and delivers improved performance. It provides better scratch resistance...

Amyris, Cosan JV Launches 100% Renewable Base Oils

Jim Lane Portrait of a breakout: Amyris (AMRS), Cosan (CZZ) JV Novii launches “next generation of revolutionary oils” touting “unmatched value” and “unbeatable economics” In California, Novvi unveiled two new 100 percent renewable base oil products, a 100 percent renewable polyalphaolefin (PAO) Group IV and a 100 percent renewable version of its NovaSpec Group III+ base oil. Both will be manufactured at the company’s production facility in Houston. Base oils are blended with additives to make the engine oils and lubricants sold on the market today. So, here’s the technical scoop. Novvi’s 100 percent renewable...

Amyris Reaches Positive Cash Flow

Jim Lane In California, Amyris announced positive cash flow of $1.7 million in the first quarter despite negative currency effect of $1.2 million. Overall, Amyris recorded Q1 2015 non-GAAP cash revenue inflows of $30.3 million, compared with $17.9 million for Q1 2014. Total Q1 2015 revenues were $7.9 million, an increase of 30% compared with same quarter last year. Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $44.9 million at March 31, 2015, an increase from $43.4 million at December 31, 2014. “We’re pleased with our continued execution toward diversifying and growing our revenue base through an expanding...

More Gevolution

Jim Lane The results from Gevo’s (GEVO) 4th quarter are in, and a worth a look-see, not only for fans of isobutanol and its prospects. Also for a look at how this member of the 2010-12 IPO group of companies is crossing the multiple Valleys of Death that have arrayed before it. In the fourth quarter of 2014, Gevo continued to progress the commercial operation of isobutanol at Luverne under the Side-by-Side mode of production (SBS), meeting its stated milestone in December 2014 of producing greater than 50K gallons of isobutanol in one month. This achievement, Gevo notes,...

Amyris’ Missing Magic

by Debra Fiakas CFA Since the end of August last year shares of renewable chemicals developer Amyris (AMRS:  Nasdaq) have been in a steady decline.  Since falling through a line of price support near the $2.50 price level in early December 2014, it appears there is no safety net for AMRS.  The stock set a new 52-week low in the third week in January 2015.  Unfortunately, a popular technical indicator, the average directional index, is providing a very strong indication that the stock could fall even further.   With its stock chart providing no hints at a reversal in...