Metabolix, Inc., a bioscience company, develops and commercializes technologies to produce renewable alternatives to petroleum-based products comprising advanced biopolymers, biobased industrial chemicals, and bioenergy. The company serves primarily plastics, chemicals, and energy industries. The company has core capabilities in microbial genetics, fermentation process engineering, chemical engineering, polymer science, plant genetics, and botanical science. PHA (Polyhydroxyalkanoate) Biopolymers Platform The company produces a family of biopolymers known as PHAs, which occur naturally in living organisms and are chemically similar to polyesters. The company offers its biopolymers under the Mirel and Mvera brand names. During 2012, the company established Metabolix GmbH, a subsidiary located in Cologne, Germany to serve as a focal point for its commercial activities in Europe. Biobased Industrial Chemicals Platform The company also develops four-carbon (C4) chemicals for high-performance engineering plastics and spandex applications; and three-carbon (C3) chemicals that have applications in paints, coatings, diapers, and adhesives. The company’s process for creating biobased industrial C4 and C3 chemicals involves engineering metabolic pathways into microbes that, in a fermentation process, produce specific PHA structures that serve as precursors for the chemicals. Through its PHA technology, the company is able to control the microbe biology to achieve high concentrations of specific, naturally-occurring PHA that accumulate inside cells as they metabolize sugars. Crops Platform The company develops crops platform, a proprietary system to produce polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). It is engineering switchgrass to produce PHB in the leaves of switchgrass for use either in bioplastics, or as a precursor to industrial chemicals. The company is conducting research to develop an advanced, genetically modified, camelina for co-production of bioplastics along with vegetable oil, biodiesel fuel, and/or oleochemicals. It is collaborating with the Australian Research Council to further pursue its research to maximize bioplastic production in the leaf tissue of sugarcane. The company is developing a portfolio of intellectual property covering its inventions in crop-based technology and has been awarded approximately 30 patents in this area. Business Strategy The company's business strategy is to create a product portfolio of PHA biopolymers; establish a supply chain for its PHA biopolymers business; continue microbial research and process development; extend its technology to sustainable production of biobased chemicals and intermediates; advancing plant crop research; and partnering its programs. Intellectual Property The company relies on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret laws, as well as confidentiality agreements to establish and protect its proprietary rights. The company owns approximately 365 issued patents and approximately 150 patent applications worldwide, and it has licensed from third parties approximately 40 issued patents and patent applications worldwide. In 2012, the company filed 14 new patent applications based on inventions, including methods of processing Mirel biopolymers and compositions for end user applications, use of PHA-containing biomass to produce biobased industrial chemicals, and PHA expression systems in microbes and plants. The company was also granted or allowed 43 patent applications, 5 in the United States of America and 38 internationally, in 2012. The inventions covered under these patents include novel multi-gene encoding systems in microbes, novel feedstocks for producing PHAs, PHA adhesives, and PHA biopolymers for medical applications. The company’s intellectual property portfolio includes patents directed to compositions of polymers, genes, vectors, expression systems in plants and microbes, devices, coatings, and films, as well as methods of manufacture and use. The terms of such patents are set to expire at various times between 2013 and 2030. The company’s registered U.S. trademarks include Metabolix, the Metabolix four-leaf design, Telles, Mirel, the Mirel heart-leaf design, Mvera, and Biopol. These marks and certain other trademarks have also been registered in selected foreign countries. Research and Development Expenses During the year ended December 31, 2012, the company spent approximately $23.2 million on company-sponsored research and development activities. Competition The company's competitors include Genomatica; Myriant; BioAmber; OPX/ Dow Chemical; Cargill/Novozymes; Novomer; Kaneka; Tianan; Tianjin; EcoMann; NatureWorks, LLC; Mitsui Chemical; Teijin; Novamont; and Biome. History The company was founded in 1992. It was incorporated in Massachusetts in 1992 under the name Metabolix, Inc. In 1998, the company reincorporated in Delaware.
metabolix inc (MBLX:NASDAQ GM)
21 Erie Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
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