Amyris, Wilmar International plan collaboration

By Bryan Sims | June 20, 2011

Forming partnerships continues to be the name of the game for Amyris Inc. as the Emeryville, Calif.-based biotech, and Asia-based agribusiness giant Wilmar International Ltd., plan to jointly develop and commercialize a family of surfactants derived from Amryis’s biobased farnesene, Biofene, for use in a range of products, including consumer packaged goods, personal care products and industrial applications.

The proposed collaboration would engage in a feasibility study to complete the technical development of the surfactants, engage in testing activities to validate product performance and customer acceptance and secure necessary regulatory approvals for manufacture and sale of the products. Upon completion of the feasibility study and subject to the execution of definitive agreements, Amyris and Wilmar anticipate forming a joint venture entity, through which they would manufacture the products to be marketed by Wilmar through its established channels. The joint venture may produce its own Biofene for captive use.

Both companies expect that biobased surfactants will be effective replacements for nonylphenol ethoxylate surfactants (NPEs), the use of which is currently being phased out or severely restricted by regulatory agencies around the world due to health and environmental concerns. The current market for NPEs exceeds $1 billion annually.

“This collaboration represents an important step in the additional geographic diversification of our renewable products business,” said Amyris CEO John Melo. “Wilmar is the leading agribusiness group in Asia. Its integrated business model, rapid growth mode and Asian presence and distribution footprint combined with our breakthrough technology will provide a powerful platform for capturing a portion of the large global surfactants market.”

Previously, Amyris and Brazilian ethanol giant Cosan S.A. formed a joint venture entity, Novvi S.A., with the goal of commercializing a line of synthetic, renewable base oils for the global lubricants market. To read more about Amyris’s partnership with Cosan, visit