The Rocky Road to Biofuels Heaven: Codexis Chief Out, Ceres IPO Delayed
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) …The changes at Codexis and delayed IPO at Ceres are indications that life in the public markets remains a rough one for early-stage industrial biotech companies. The changes at Codexis come after the company’s shares fell 65% off their initial IPO price of $13.00 in 2010, despite the company’s relatively steady performance in its fuels business and a fork into the renewable chemicals business, including a landmark deal with Chemtex.
At Ceres: confidence from insiders, drought in Brazil The company reports: “We are receiving reports that while some of the 2011/2012 sweet sorghum crops being produced from our seeds are growing quite well, others are suffering from the adverse weather conditions. As a result, we expect that this drought will likely lead to overall reduced yields for the 2011/2012 sweet sorghum crops and may adversely affect the demand for our seeds for the 2012/13 growing season.
…Changing of the Guard at Codexis Over at Codexis, the company reported that Peter Strumph, formerly Senior Vice President and Business Head of Pharmaceuticals, was appointed as the company’s interim Chief Executive Officer, after CEO Alan Shaw resigned “to pursue other interests”, though the company said that Shaw will continue to serve as a special advisor to the Board of Directors.
…Rumors that the board of directors were getting antsy about the company’s dismal share performance began to circulate last fall, and the company set out to beef up its management team with, among other appointments, the tapping of longtime Coskata executive Wes Bolsen as the company’s CMO.
…Investors and board directors may well have been ultimately dismayed not only by the lack of visibility with Shell, or progress in renewable chemicals, but by the collapse of the company’s efforts to develop an enzyme-based carbon capture business at coal-fired power plants.
After signing a 2010 collaboration agreement with Alstrom, and investing in CO2 Solution, Codexis announced quietly in its annual report that its carbon-capture ventures were being wound down.
…Worth remembering that the road to biofuels heaven is paved with stones that impatient investors occasionally use to pelt industry CEOs into oblivion.