Metabolix, Inc., an advanced biomaterials company, focuses on delivering sustainable solutions to the plastics industry. The company has core capabilities in microbial genetics, fermentation process engineering, chemical engineering, polymer science, plant genetics and botanical science. The company has focused on a family of biopolymers found in nature called polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), which occur naturally in living organisms and are chemically similar to polyesters. Biopolymers Platform The company is focused on building a specialty polymers business based on the properties of its PHA biopolymers. The company is targeting market opportunities driven by the important value-adding role its biopolymers could play as components of other material systems. The company is intensifying its efforts in product and application development and working with customers across a range of applications at various stages in the development process, from initial data demonstration, through product and process validation, larger scale trials and purchase decisions. Performance Additives: The company is developing PHA biopolymers as performance additives. The company is initially focused on developing polymeric modifiers for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic with various uses ranging from construction materials to medical applications and an estimated global demand of approximately 38 million metric tons per year. The company is developing biobased polymeric modifiers for rigid, semi-rigid and flexible PVC compounds. The company has shown that its polymeric modifiers could provide toughness, plasticization and permanence in addition to improving processing when added to PVC. The company is also working with customers to develop applications that use its PHA performance additives to upgrade the physical properties, processing, and value of PVC recyclate in the production of construction materials containing recycled PVC in place of virgin PVC. In addition to the company’s efforts in PVC, it is developing PHA polymeric modifiers suitable for improving the performance of other polymers. Polylactic acid (PLA) is the major biobased, compostable polyester on the market and is used in application areas, such as food and consumer product packaging, food service ware, film and textiles. The company has conducted development work around toughening and improved ductility of PLA. Barrier Coatings for Paper and Cardboard: PHA barrier coatings being developed by the company are derived from renewable raw materials, and like its other PHA products, are compostable, marine biodegradable, and anaerobically digestible and perform comparably to the polyethylene coatings commonly used. The company is continuing to develop technology to apply PHA-based barrier coatings to paper and cardboard based on the promising market potential in this area. Marine Biodegradable Micropowders: The company is developing PHA-based alternatives to replace the non-biodegradable plastics used in these applications with PHA micropowders that are both biobased and marine biodegradable. In 2015, the company entered into a global, exclusive commercial and technology alliance with Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell) to offer new marine biodegradable biopolymers for use in cosmetics and personal care products. Through the alliance, the company’s PHA biopolymers would be developed as part of Honeywell’s line of personal care additives to help address pending legislation focused on replacing synthetic, non-biodegradable microbeads, as well as global demand for biobased and biodegradable alternatives. Functional Biodegradation: The company’s biopolymers are biobased materials for applications requiring functional biodegradation. Its PHA biopolymers could be biodegraded by similar microbes present in ambient environments, such as soil and water. The company’s biopolymers could also be formulated or compounded with other biodegradable polymers to provide customers with customized product performance and biodegradation profiles. The soil biodegradability profile of PHA makes the company’s products suited for resins used to produce biodegradable films and parts for horticultural and agricultural uses. The company has worked with customers to develop pond water and aquarium water denitrification treatment systems based on the biodegradation and microbial activity of its biopolymers. Dispositions In 2014, the company sold its wholly-owned German subsidiary, Metabolix GmbH, to AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH, a German manufacturer of engineering plastics compounds. Business Strategy Key elements of the company’s strategy include proprietary biopolymers and biopolymer formulations; managing existing inventory; matching manufacturing capacity to customer demand; market positioning and technical support; microbial research and process development; leading intellectual property position; and advancing crop biotechnology. Intellectual Property The company owns approximately 340 issued patents and approximately 90 patent applications worldwide, and has licensed additional issued patents and patent applications from third parties. The terms of such patents are set to expire at various times between 2015 and 2032. In 2014, the company filed 27 patent applications worldwide, including applications for 8 new inventions covering biodegradable films, PHAs as additives for polymer applications, and the use of PHA-containing biomass to produce high purity biobased industrial chemicals, as well as alternate feedstocks for producing novel biobased chemicals from genetically engineered microbes. The company was also granted or allowed 24 patent applications in 2014, 8 in the U.S. and 16 internationally. The company’s registered U.S. trademarks include Metabolix, the Metabolix four-leaf design, Telles, Mirel, the Mirel heart-leaf design, and Bio-Industrial Evolution. These marks and certain other trademarks have also been registered in selected foreign countries. History The company was founded in 1992. It was incorporated in Massachusetts in 1992 under the name Metabolix, Inc. In 1998, the company was reincorporated in Delaware.
metabolix inc (MBLX:NASDAQ CM)
21 Erie Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
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