Recent Activities in Industrial Biotechnology: Investments & Relationships
The Industrial Biotechnology sector, which includes biofuels, biochemicals, and biomaterials, has received quite a bit of attention in recent months. Although we continue to see headwinds in technology commercialization, several recent investments have brought fresh confidence. In addition to investments, we are also seeing several active corporate partnerships, which definitely serve as significant milestones for innovative technology companies in this sector.
Last week, SGB, the California-based developer of plant oil and protein technologies, successfully raised $11 million in new equity funding from Thomas McNerney & Partners, Finistere Ventures, and Flint Hills Resources. This round of investment aims to drive commercial partnerships and project deployments in the Central American and Southwest Asian markets. Meanwhile, California-based renewable fuels producer Fulcrum Bioenergy raised $30 million in funding and received a USDA Loan Guarantee for $105 million to build a biorefinery for renewable jet fuel production.
In terms of corporate partnerships, we are also seeing increasing interest from multinational corporations. In addition to the company’s recent investment, Fulcrum also secured an offtake agreement with Cathay Pacific Airways for the supply of renewable jet fuels to the airline over the next 10 years. On the biomaterials side, Wisconsin-based Virent Energy Systems expanded the company’s partnership with Coca-Cola, along with an additional investment from the beverage producer, to scale up production of plant-based paraxylene for Coca-Cola’s plant-based bottles.
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