BASF Venture Capital is on a participation spree
BASF Venture Capital is to invest USD 13.5 million in San Diego based American Allylix company who has developed a new technology to enable the production of highly pure, renewable specialty chemicals for application in various industrial branches
The investment forms part of a USD 18.2 million financing package led by BASF and joined by existing investors Tate & Lyle Ventures, Avrio Ventures and Cultivian Ventures.
Allylix has a proprietary technology platform to produce a wide variety of renewable specialty chemicals, such as terpenes and their derivatives for various industries (e.g. flavour, fragrance, food ingredients, cosmetics, agricultural and biofuel markets). The technology is based on fermentation and metabolic engineering. It allows the creation of highly pure and renewable compounds that were previously solely available from natural resources and in limited quantities and have been before under exploited due to their high cost and limited supply. Among the opportunities are also insect repellents to replace DEET, tick repellent/acaricide and natural bedbug treatment. The company has identified several compounds to have significant potential as urban pesticides, apart from the repellents for mosquitoes there are for ticks, fleas, bedbugs, lice, cockroaches, flies, ants and termites. The first product was launched in 2009 (and actually a very good pipeline for new products) and the company’s basis started in the 1990’s at San Diego’s Salk Institute and the University of Kentucky where two scientific company founders collaborated in terpene research over twelve years. They were the first to provide a thorough understanding of the molecular structure of a class of enzymes, called terpene synthases, used by plants to produce terpenes. They cloned a terpene synthase gene and determined the first three-dimensional structure of this class of enzyme. More can be had from the website at the end of this feature. The company will license its technology to strategic partners outside its target industries. President and CEO is Carolyn Fritz.
Terpene production costs only a fraction of the cost of the traditional approaches of extraction and chemical synthesis. The Allylix platform provides a stable, scalable supply of terpenes and the development of novel compounds and is applicable to a wide range of industries beyond the ones cited, namely fine chemicals, pesticides and crop protection products as well as biofuels. There are already 37 patents for US and foreign application issued.
BASF expects in the future to make use of renewable raw materials for sustainable chemical solutions and a leveraging of its competency in aroma chemicals, nutrition and cosmetic chemicals