Lanxess participates in BioAmber's Series C finance round

By Bryan Sims | February 23, 2012

Minneapolis-based biobased chemical technology developer BioAmber Inc. has closed on a Series C round of financing worth a total of $30 million. The financing was closed in two tranches: the first portion of $20 million came in November with existing investors Naxos Capital, Sofinnova Partners, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and the Cliffton Group; and the second tranche of $10 million came from German specialty chemicals company Lanxess earlier this month. All of BioAmber’s Series B investors participated in the Series C round.

The investment by Lanxess is a culmination of a strategic collaboration, formally announced in October last year, with BioAmber to jointly produce and market phthalate-free plasticizers. The two companies expect to begin sampling succinic-based plasticizers this year. Additionally, the two companies are collaborating on bringing online BioAmber’s 17,000 metric ton biobased succinic acid production facility in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, co-located on site within Lanxess’ Bio-industrial Park.

Lanxess has large capacities and expertise in production and a global distribution network that sells innovative, phthalate-free plasticizers under its trademarked family of plasticizers. February last year Lanxess acquired Greensboro, N.C.-based UNITEX Chemical Corp., which allowed Lanxess access to an additional capacity of 50,000 tons per year, plus an extensive portfolio of phthalate-free plasticizers such as benzoates, citrates and sulfonamides. BioAmber brings extensive expertise in the production and distribution of biobased succinic acid from wheat-derived glucose at its 3,000 ton per year production plant in Pomacle, France.

“Lanxess is actively engaged in leveraging its Sarnia site to establish the largest bio-industrial park in Canada, offering land, energy and infrastructure for the development of new bio-industrial chemicals,” said Sandy Marshall, president of Lanxess Canada. “We are excited to be working closely with BioAmber to anchor the Bio-industrial Park and this investment is a natural extension of our collaboration.”

Concurrent with the investment, Jorge Noguiera, head of Lanxess’ functional chemicals unit, will join be joining BioAmber’s board of directors.

“Our investment in BioAmber shows our commitment to launching a new generation of plasticizers that satisfy regulatory requirements and can also score in terms of sustainability,” Nogueira said.

Lanxess’ partnership with BioAmber is one of several it has with biorefining firms in its commitment to delivering renewable bioproducts to market. In November, Lanxess announced it would produce the world’s first biobased ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (EPDM) rubber in Brazil derived from sugarcane-based ethylene supplied by Brazilian petrochemical company Braskam SA in Triunfu, Brazil. Prior to that, Lanxess invested in Colorado-based Gevo Inc. to convert Gevo’s corn-based isobutanol to isobutene, a key precursor used in the production of butyl rubber.