In California, Intrexon has formed Intrexon Energy Partners II (IEP II), a joint venture with a select group of unnamed “external investors”, to produce 1,4-butanediol (BDO), a key chemical intermediate with a global market value exceeding $5 billion that is used to manufacture spandex, polyurethane, plastics, as well as polyester.
Through Intrexon’s advanced suite of technologies, methanotrophs that naturally consume methane have already been engineered to produce isobutanol as well as farnesene. Production of BDO within these microbes follows similar metabolic pathways enabling translation of the Company’s unique know-how and proprietary genetic technologies to achieve commercial-scale production of this valuable chemical along an accelerated timeline.
This is Intrexon’s second partnership utilizing the Company’s proprietary gas-to-liquids bioconversion platform to generate high-value products from natural gas, the most inexpensive source of industrially usable carbon for fermentation.
Through an Exclusive Channel Collaboration (ECC) agreement, Intrexon will receive a technology access fee of $18 million. IEP II will be responsible for all costs related to the development, manufacture, approval and commercialization of the product. Intrexon owns a 50% interest in the new venture.
In August, we reported that Intrexon Energy Partners and Dominion Energy are exploring the potential for commercial-scale biological conversion of natural gas to isobutanol, using Intrexon’s proprietary methanotroph bioconversion platform, which can convert natural gas into higher carbon compounds such as isobutanol and farnesene under ambient temperatures and pressures.
“As an intermediate used in the manufacture of multiple industrial compounds, plastics, and fibers, the market demand for 1,4-butanediol is significant, despite the costly and energy intensive processes currently used for its production,” said Robert F. Walsh, Senior Vice President, Head of Intrexon’s Energy Sector and Industrial Products Division. “With the knowledge framework in place to optimize microbial engineering and fermentation, we believe our methanotroph bioconversion approach will reduce energy use, production costs, and waste while producing a single high value product.”
You can see our 2015 8-Slide Guide to Intrexon’s methane-munching technology here.