Metabolix to sell biopolymer business, become Yield10 Bioscience

By Erin Voegele | August 31, 2016

On Aug. 22, Metabolix Inc. announced it has entered into a binding letter of intent (LOI) with CJ CheilJedang Corp. for the sale of its biopolymer intellectual property and certain laboratory equipment. The company announced its intent to wind down its biopolymers business in July, noting it will now focus on its Yield10 Bioscience business, which will focus on developing disruptive technologies for step-change improvements in crop yields to enhance global food security. Metabolix has also said it plans to rebrand itself at Yield10 Bioscience during the coming months.

The purchase price for the biopolymer assets is $10 million. The first $2 million of the purchase price was paid by CJ on execution of the LOI. The remaining balance is payable on closing of the transaction, which is expected to be in mid-September. According to Metabolix, completion of the transaction is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements and other customary conditions.

Under the definitive agreements, Metabolix said it will transfer to CJ a portfolio of intellectual property, including the platform microbial strains used to produce the company’s fermentation-based products, as well as patent rights covering the production and use of PHA biopolymers. CJ will also acquire certain laboratory equipment associated with the biopolymer business. The arrangement is also expected to include a sublease of a portion of Metabolix’s Woburn, Massachusetts, facility to CJ.

"We believe this transaction will help put the Company on a more stable footing and enable us to move forward with our plan to make Yield10 Bioscience our core business," said Joseph Shaulson, president and CEO of Metabolix. "We are excited about our new direction and look forward to focusing our efforts on developing disruptive technologies for step-change improvements in crop yield."

In July, Metabolix indicated it would eliminate approximately 45 positions in its biopolymer operations and corporate organization as part of its restructuring, accounting for approximately 50 percent of its workforce. Once the restructuring is complete, the company anticipates a staff of approximately 20 people, including the Yield10 crop science team and a small group of administrative personnel.