Codexis, Shell Redraw the Advanced Biofuels Map with Global Enzyme Rights Deal
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) … In California, Codexis announced that Shell has granted Codexis a royalty-bearing, non-exclusive license to develop, manufacture, use and sell cellulase enzymes developed under the companies’ Amended and Restated Collaborative Research Agreement. The scope of the New Agreement is worldwide, except Brazil, for enzymes used in the biofuels field. Codexis already has exclusive rights to commercialize its cellulase enzymes in other fields.
…”Codexis has developed some of the most cost effective and competitively advantaged cellulase enzymes in the world. Securing the rights to market these enzymes to advanced biofuel companies outside of Shell is a major milestone for the company,” said John Nicols, President and CEO of Codexis. “We also remain focused on the Brazil market, where our discussions with Raízen continue regarding commercialization of our cellulase enzymes for second generation ethanol production.”
…Our thesis is that, rather than abandoning cellulosic ethanol and the enzymatic path to advanced biofuels, Shell is advancing from supporting R&D to supporting commercialization, via Raizen, its joint venture in Brazil with Cosan.
…We expect that Raizen will announce that it will utilize (presumably Codexis-based, and expressed through the Dyadic C1 platform) a C6 enzyme for sugarcane bagasse – and that Raizen and Iogen will ultimately build a plant to support that technology path in Brazil. We further expect that there will be a second path announced with respect to C5 sugars – and that additional partners may well be involved.
…Diverting as much production to sugar as possible? That’s not the solution that Brazil wants to hear. It puts pressure on oil imports and fuel prices – unpopular.
Long-term, Brazil needs cellulosic production and producers need it too if they are to take advantage of good sugar prices and meet the home fuel needs, too – and make a case that production expansion is a good thing not only for producers, but the country as a whole.
…Here’s the problem with big strategic partners for small, early-stage companies – and one of the reasons that, for many years, VC firms didn’t want strategics along for the ride in venture development: strategics change strategy, and small changes at big companies result in big changes for small companies. What is a ripple in the water to a giant is a tsunami to a fly. READ MORE