Genomatica acquires assets of REG Life Sciences

By Erin Voegele | June 06, 2019

Genomatica announced June 6 it has acquired certain assets of the REG Life Sciences division of Renewable Energy Group Inc. The company said the acquisition will add to its capabilities to meet increasing demand for sustainable products.

REG acquired the Life Sciences business, then known as LS9 Inc., in 2014. Since that time, the division worked to develop technology to produce renewable chemicals and fuels using a proprietary microbial fermentation process. REG said the Life Sciences’ team has successfully advanced that technology development, including through key strategic partnerships with ExxonMobil and Clariant.  

REG began reviewing strategic alternatives for the Life Sciences subsidiary in 2016. In March 2019, the company announced plans to sell the division. Less than two months later, the company announced it had identified a buyer.

According to REG, the transaction with Genomatica closed May 29 and includes substantially all assets of the REG Life Sciences division. Many of the REG Life Sciences team members will join Genomatica at its san Diego Innovation Center.

“We are pleased to be selling our Life Sciences’ assets to Genomatica, who are well positioned to build upon the technical progress we have made, and to advance the team and the technology through to commercialization,” said Cynthia J. Warner, CEO of REG. “As we focus on our core strategies to grow our fuel business, this deal allows the technology to develop with a new owner while we retain the opportunity to participate in the successful commercialization of the technology in the future.”

Genomatica said it plans to use the newly acquired assets to develop a wider range of sustainable chemicals, which are in turn used to make numerous everyday materials and products.

The acquisition of the Life Sciences business provides Genomatica with a third major product platform, allowing it to expand into household and industrial cleaning products, and flavors and fragrances, further growing its ingredients for the apparel, packaging and personal care markets. Genomatica also said it will work with ExxonMobil and Clariant to progress an existing research program for advanced biofuels.

The company explained the Life Sciences acquisition allows it to make long-chain chemicals from renewable feedstocks. These chemicals are used to make surfactants, cosmetics, solvents, polymers, fuels and food ingredients. The acquired assets include more than 550 active patents and applications, bringing its portfolio to more than 1,500 offerings.

“Genomatica’s strengths will help us realize our journey by scaling sustainable chemicals for mainstream applications,” said Fernando Sanchez-Riera, formerly the vice president, R&D, REG LS, and who has now joined Genomatica to lead the continued development of the long-chain platform. “Between the terrific people, culture and energy, we see a common vision and a natural fit.”

“Consumer demand for sustainable products continues to grow, and successful companies will increasingly switch to ingredients that reduce harm to the environment and work with partners with shared values,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “This acquisition adds powerful technology and talent to help Genomatica enhance the sustainability of everyday products.”