US-headed Verdezyne, Inc., a privately-held industrial biotechnology company focused on producing renewable chemicals, has announced that it has reached an agreement with Bio-XCell Malaysia to construct Verdezyne’s first commercial-scale renewable chemicals manufacturing facility in Bio-XCell’s premier biotechnology and ecosystem park in Nusajaya, Iskandar, in southern Malaysia.
According to a statement, construction is scheduled to commence in 2015 and upon completion, the plant will be capable of producing approximately 30 million pounds per annum (≈ 13.6 million kg) of diacids, including dodecanedioic acid (DDDA), and will be the world’s first bio-based plant for the production of DDDA. The exchange of agreement ceremony took place during the official opening ceremony of “BioMalaysia: Bioeconomy Asia Pacific 2014 Conference & Exhibition,” and was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
This agreement is part of our comprehensive strategy of expansion into Asia, and represents a huge step toward our goal of replacing petroleum-derived chemicals with renewable drop-in replacements. We are thrilled, and are eagerly anticipating breaking ground in the near future on this major new manufacturing plant for the production of renewable diacids,” commented Dr E. William Radany, President and CEO of Verdezyne.
The multi-faceted agreement includes:
- Leasing a 6.9-acre site owned by Bio-XCell in Malaysia’s premier biotechnology park located in Nusajaya, Iskandar, Malaysia, 30 minutes’ north of Singapore
- The 13-year, renewable lease provides for expansion options on other adjacent lots, and all major utilities will be supplied by Bio-XCell
- A loan of approximately US$75 million (≈ RM250 million) from Bio-XCell
We are happy to welcome Verdezyne to the Park. The investments related to building Verdezyne’s new factory here will bring the total investment into Bio-XCell to RM250 million, and with a couple more companies in the pipeline, we expect to have secured RM1.86 billion (≈ US$555 million) in investment by year-end. The investments will further augur and strengthen the value proposition of the Bio-XCell ecosystem as a regional hub for industrial biomanufacturing and bioprocessing, said Rizatuddin Ramli, Chief Executive Officer of Bio-XCell Malaysia.
The manufacturing facility will leverage Verdezyne’s yeast fermentation technology with the abundant supplies of non-food, plant-based feedstocks in Malaysia to produce a variety of commercial diacids, including DDDA. These diacids may, in turn, be used to produce nylon or other polymers for use in a variety of applications including engineering resins, automotive parts, athletic apparel, carpeting and toothbrush bristles, at a lower cost than traditional, petroleum-derived nylons.
We are proud of our successes with our Malaysian partners, who recognize the strong value proposition we bring to the table. To review, in June of last year we reached a collaboration agreement with Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation, and in September of last year, we were awarded BioNexus Status by the Malaysian government. In April of this year, we secured US$30 million in financing from Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby, and our signing ceremony was attended by none other than President Barack Obama. As rewarding as our projects in Malaysia have been thus far, though, we feel that the best is yet to come, ended Dr E. William Radany.
About Verdezyne and Bio-XCell
Verdezyne is an industrial biotechnology company using proven and proprietary metabolic pathway engineering tools to develop unique yeast strains for cost-effective production of bio-based chemicals. Current investors in Verdezyne include BP Ventures, DSM Venturing B.V., OVP Venture Partners, Monitor Ventures and Sime Darby. Bio-XCell, a biotechnology park and ecosystem dedicated to healthcare and industrial biotechnology solutions to “heal, fuel and green the world” is being developed by Malaysian Bio-XCell Sdn Bhd, a joint venture company formed between Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation and property developer UEM Sunrise Berhad in 2009.