METabolic EXplorer obtains its first samples of PDO

May 14, 2008 - France

METabolic EXplorer, the industrial biotechnology company focused on the bioproduction of bulk chemicals (green chemistry), announced that it has obtained the first samples of one of its proprietary products, PDO (1,3-propanediol). These samples, with a purity above 99.5%, have been produced by fermentation of crude, industrial glycerol (a direct byproduct of the industrial biodiesel production), followed by a proprietary, patent protected purification step.

For each of its proprietary products, METabolic EXplorer is implementing a preindustrialisation approach which incorporates the optimization and pilot-scale validation of a biomanufacturing process based on the use of renewable industrial feedstocks.

In parallel with its in-house bioprocess development on an industrial pilot scale, METabolic EXplorer has chosen to subcontract development of the purification process to Processium, a specialist process engineering company. This approach highlights METabolic Explorer's intention to take account of the important purificationrelated issues as far upstream as possible in bioprocess development.

PDO is used in the manufacture of polymers (such as high-performance polyester textiles), cosmetics, personal hygiene products and industrial applications of glycols.

The potential worldwide market is estimated at $3.5 billion. Olivier Nore, VP Industrialisation at METabolic EXplorer, commented: "Obtaining these first PDO laboratory samples after lessthan six months of development work is a significant milestone and one which validates the company's ability to industrialize its products.

The decision to outsource development of the purification process demonstrates our commitment to shortening development timelines. This progress in purifying the fermentation residues obtained from industrial feedstocks will enable METabolic EXplorer to produce demonstration batches for qualification of PDO in its various applications."

Benjamin Gonzalez, Chairman and CEO of METabolic EXplorer, stated: "Thanks to the PDO programme, METabolic EXplorer has taken a significant step forward in integrating the skills required to industrialize its innovations. The production of these first high purity PDO samples also represent the first material proof of the company's rapid progress towards the industrialisation of its products".

Incorporated in 1999, METabolic EXplorer is an industrial biotech company working in the "green chemistry" sector. The company's goal is to help industrial manufacturing businesses to change the way they produce their goods by moving away from ever-scarcer, petrochemical-derived feedstocks.