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GlycosBio technology nears commercialization

Texas-based Glycos Biotechnologies Inc. is producing lactic acid and advanced ethanol in a pilot commercial-size facility with the capacity to produce 150,000 liters of chemicals. It’s a major benchmark in the company’s quest to commercialize its microbial technology.

The biochemical company is metabolically engineering microbial strains to consume nonsugar-based, low-value feedstocks for the production of chemicals and advanced ethanol. Those feedstocks can include multiple waste streams, such as glycerin from the oleochemicals industry or free fatty acids, according to GlycosBio CEO Rich Cilento. So many biochemical companies focus on sugar-based feedstocks that they build fierce competition and can hurt each others’ progress. “If a third of those companies are successful, it will really affect commodity prices for sugar,” he said. “Sugar is obviously a very, very important global commodity.” Not only does GylcosBio’s strategy eliminate the risks of sugar-only feedstocks, but it also provides product flexibility and a larger addressable market opportunity for producers, according to the company. In addition, the technology platform is cost competitive with the petrochemical industry, while maintaining 45 percent to 55 percent gross margins from plant operations.

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