San Diego, California - Following an initial agreement in May 2011, US biomaterials group Genomatica says Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. has signed an agreement to exclusively negotiate definitive agreements for a joint commercial operation in Asia for the production of butanediol (BDO) using Genomatica's process technology.
Mitsubishi has paid Genomatica $3.5 million while the companies continue to work toward completing the agreements. The agreement continues until the earlier of June 30, 2012 or the date the companies execute a definitive agreement.
BDO is an intermediate with a $4000-million market worldwide, according to Genomatica. It is used to make spandex urethane fibres and thermoplastic polyurethanes used in automotive plastics, running shoes and more.
The latest agreement strengthens the partnership between the two organisations. "Genomatica and Mitsubishi are both focused on bringing greater sustainability to the chemical industry," said Shigeru Handa, general manager of the Sustainable Resources Business Development Department of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.
"Genomatica is a technology leader, especially in the strategically important field of C4 chemicals. Their BDO process has the potential to provide market-leading economics and sustainability consistent with our concept of Kaiteki, the global quality of life that will be made possible through sustainable technologies and through breakthrough scientific advances in human healthcare."
"We are looking forward to supporting our partner Mitsubishi as they look to implement and deploy our processes in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world," said Christophe Schilling, ceo of Genomatica.
As a major producer and consumer of BDO and its derivatives … Mitsubishi brings tremendous market knowledge and application expertise, and is well-positioned to leverage the differentiation that can be gained from a renewable approach to producing BDO."