August 10, 2009

Industrial Biotech Interview: Genomatica

This week's industrial biotech interview is California-based Genomatica, a start-up technology company that focuses on producing cost-economic renewable-based chemicals such as 1,4 butanediol (BDO) and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) using the biotechnology route.

As opposed to building and operating their own manufacturing facility, Genomatica CEO and co-founder Christophe Schilling plans to base the company's business model on partnering and licensing their technology. While there are a number of renewable-based chemicals in their pipeline, Genomatica's focus right now, said Schilling, is to prove that their renewable-based BDO manufacturing process could work in a commercial scale.

Q: Can you begin with a short summary and an overview of Genomatica?

Schilling: Genomatica is a privately-held company that is focused on developing new and cost-effective ways to produce sustainable chemicals from renewable feedstock. Our main goal is to deliver deliver cost advantage and sustainable attributes to the processes. We're not looking to become a manufacturer of chemicals, however. We're looking to partner with current producers and companies that are already in the value chain. Our competency is really developing breakthrough processes to produce these chemicals but not necessarily in the construction or operation of a commercial facility or marketing/sales of these chemicals.

Q: How is the company's current financial standing?

Schilling: The business is doing great considering the current financial environment. We have terrific investors, we've been delivering not only on the technical milestones and corporate development objectives but also on our responsibilities for cash management. We've been able to manage our resources very well. We had a very well thought-out budget and case scenarios for how to handle different situations. We've been able to follow right on track with that plan and so we feel very comfortable about the current environment.

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