This major piece of news made no noise in Europe and Asia. It fell late on April 30 and splashed the web on May 1st in the US, one of the few countries in the world not celebrating labor day on that day.
Cargill (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) announced it has acquired Colorado-based OPX Biotechnologies’ proprietary fermentation-based processes and systems. These technologies are used to produce bio-based chemicals from sugars for use in non-food applications such as lubricants, detergents, plastics, agrichemicals and personal care products.
Cargill is already a large supplier of carbohydrates and other biotech offerings. This acquisition further expands its presence in commercial fermentation products outside of food and feed.
“Our customers that make products in any of these categories will benefit from this technology acquisition because it will enable us to produce more and better solutions for them than they can get from any other company,” said Cargill Corn Milling vice president, Brian Silvey. “It will also make bio-based products with extensive functionality more readily available than ingredients produced using petroleum-based or tropical oils.”
“This sale of OPXBIO’s technology to Cargill demonstrates the great progress OPXBIO has made towards product commercialization,” said Mike Rosenberg, CEO of OPXBIO. “Cargill has all the right capabilities and experience to deliver products produced from OPXBIO’s technology to customers.”
What does this means for OPXBIO’s other partnerships is unclear at this stage. OPXBIO was in the middle of developing bio-based acrylic acid with Dow Chemical. It has also been in the middle of developing certain fatty acids from CO2 and hydrogen via fermentation under the US DOE’s ARPA-E program.
This piece of news has further shrunk the arena of developments in the bio-acrylic acid field after BASF’s announcement that it had abandoned its collaboration with Novozymes/Cargill. It seems likely Dow Chemical would do the same with the sale of OPXBIO’s technology to Cargill. Let’s keep an eye on the matter.