Amyris reports reduced farnesene production costs in 2013 results

By Erin Voegele | February 27, 2014

Amyris Inc. has released its fourth quarter and full year 2013 financial results. The company reported total revenues of $41.12 million for the year, down from $73.69 million in 2012. Revenues for the fourth quarter were $15.4 million, up from $5.85 million during the same period of 2012. Amyris reported a net loss attributable to common stockholders of $86.4 million, or $1.15 per share, for the full year. The net loss attributable to common stockholders in the fourth quarter was $19.6 million, or 26 cents per share.

According to the company’s financial report, Amyris continued to make progress in improving its technology platform, manufacturing capabilities and commercialization network during the fourth quarter. The company highlighted several 2013 achievements in its report, including the completion of the first year of operations at its farnesene production facility in Brotas, São Paulo, Brazil. Amyris also doubled total farnesene volume produced last year when compared to 2102, approached its $4 per liter farnesene production cash cost target during the second half of the year, and produced its first renewable fragrance oil for its partner Firmenich.

“In 2013, we delivered our best financial results, technology progress and operational performance, to date,” said John Melo, president and CEO of Amyris, during an investor call to discuss the financial results.

Regarding farnesene production in Brazil, Melo noted that the facility celebrated one year of operations in December. He also said the company’s second-generation farnesene strains are delivering productivity at a scale that is beyond what was theoretically possible for its first-generation strains. According to Melo, Amryis believes the estimated 3.5 million liters of high-quality farnesene it has produced has put to rest any lingering doubts about the company’s ability to manufacture renewable products.

The combination of continued technical and operational improvements has allowed Amyris to reduce farnesene production costs from $12 per liter at the beginning of 2013 to $4 per liter near the end of the year, Melo continued. Moving forward, he said Amryis expects to achieve additional cost reductions, but due to competitive reasons and partner preference, will no longer provide updates of per-unit production costs or volumes.

Melo also noted that during the fourth quarter, Amyris completed its first industrial campaign to produce its second commercial molecule, a fragrance oil. Those volumes were produced by a specialty contract manufacturer. However, Melo said Amryris plans to begin producing those fragrance oils at its Brazilian plant later this year. “Going forward, you should not think of Brotas as a farnesene only plant, but a true biorefinery,” he said.  

Speaking of the company’s fuels business, Melo said Amyris remains committed to building the business for the long run with its leading shareholder Total. He noted that more than 400 public transit buses in São Paulo are using the company’s renewable diesel, while Amryis is nearing ASTM validation for its renewable jet fuel.

“Success in fuels requires a very strong balance sheet and a long-term commitment to achieve competitive economics,” Melo said, noting that the Amyris’s renewable fuels are providing good value in niche markets and markets that are supply limited, such as Brazil. However, Melo said Amyris does not expect renewable fuels to be very attractive in the U.S. market during the short- and medium-terms.

The same day Amyris released its financial results, the company also announced the completion of the first phase of collaboration with International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. The collaboration aims to develop a specific set of renewable fragrance ingredients.

"As we near the first anniversary of our collaboration with Amyris, we are delighted to launch the next phase of the project," said Nicolas Mirzayantz, IFF group president of fragrances. "This arrangement supports our long-term strategy, which focuses on both innovation and portfolio maximization. In our 125-year history, we have been market leaders in the area of innovation and this recent work with Amyris reflects our continuing commitment to lead in this area. We believe that the creation of cost-effective molecules will have a positive impact on our Fragrance Ingredients business as well as the creative capabilities of our Fragrance compounds business."