Codexis CEO: cellulase enzymes will soon be in high demand

| July 19, 2011

Codexis wants to be ready when the demand for cellulosic biofuels truly ramps up. The company has scaled up production of its cellulase enzymes at a contract fermentation and synthesis production facility in Mexico City. The Fermic S.A. de C.V facility has completed a 20,000 liter batch, using what Codexis has trademarked as the CodeXporter enzyme expression system.

“High-performance cellulase enzymes will soon be in high demand for cost-effective production of renewable products from biomass,” said Alan Shaw, president and CEO of the company. The enzyme company has developed another trademarked evolution technology that genetically engineers enzymes, called the CodeEvolver system. The technology uses a breeding process that creates microorganisms to produce a special enzyme, which, through gene shuffling, is optimized for use as a commercial biocatalyst.

“This is both an important commercial milestone for Codexis…and significant development for customers, who are responding to market demand for sustainable products,” Shaw said.

In addition to enzymes suitable for advanced biofuels, Codexis also hopes to be active with biobased performance ingredients used in household goods like laundry detergents or shampoos. The company has already worked with Pfizer to supply an intermediate to the drug Lipitor, and Codexis has also formed a relationship with an India-based pharmaceutical company, Dishman Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals, to develop intermediate chemicals as well. Along with big name partners, the company has also added U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., to the company’s board of directors, and has brought on Big Oil-backed investment firms, Chevron Technology Ventures and Shell, along with investments from GE Energy and Pfizer.