Metabolix Sells Biopolymer Assets to CJ CheilJedang

25.08.2016 -

Just one month after announcing it was quitting the biopolymers business, Metabolix has signed a binding letter of intent (LOI) to sell its assets to South Korean food company CJ CheilJedang (CJ). For $10 million, CJ gets the US company’s intellectual property and certain laboratory equipment. A first payment of $2 million was made on execution of the LOI with the remaining balance due on closure, which is expected for mid-September.

The intellectual property includes the platform microbial strains used to produce Metabolix’s fermentation-based products, as well as patent rights covering the production and use of biopolymers based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). The transaction is also expected to include a sublease of part of Metabolix’s facility in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA.

The deal underscores CJ’s ambition to expand into industrial biotechnology. “In addition to securing leadership in the global green bio business, we have now gained a foothold in expanding our R&D capabilities to enter the industrial biomaterials sector,” said Roh Hang-duk, vice president of CJ’s biotechnology business.

CJ was to partner Metabolix in building and operating a PHA plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa. There was no mention as to whether the project would still go ahead. Metabolix will now focus on developing disruptive technology for enhancing crop yields and will change its name to Yield10 Bioscience.