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Amyris receives multi-million dollar approval for first industrial-scale production facility in Brazil

By Andrew McDougall , 28-Nov-2011
Last updated on 28-Nov-2011 at 17:39 GMT

California-based Amyris has received final approval from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) for a R$22m ($11.6m) project financing facility for Amyris Brasil's first industrial-scale production facility for its Biofene product.

The new facility will be located in Piracicaba, São Paulo, and will produce the renewable chemical company’s trademark Biofene which is used in packaging, with dervatives also used in fragrance products and as the basis for renewable squalene used in skin care products and other cosmetics.

"We are very appreciative of the confidence shown by BNDES in approving funding for the first of our Brazilian production facilities," expalined John Melo, CEO of Amyris.

Green chemistry

"The funds support our investment in production capital expenditures, and we look forward to expanding our relationship with BNDES and the Brazilian government as we advance on our production of renewable chemicals and fuels in the country."

Roberto Zurli Machado, Director of BNDES added that: "BNDES sees great potential in green-chemistry projects that add new technologies to the sugarcane sector, where Brazil is competitive and the world leader."

Amyris says it is scaling its Biofene production in Brazil, Europe and the United States through five production arrangements.

Industrial-scale production has begun

Earlier this year the company completed tests to engineer yeast to produce the renewable fragrance farnesene Biofene on an industrial scale, a process that lowers operational risks as well as gaining a valuable insight into how its yeast will perform at a commercial level.

In its product development efforts for cosmetic fragrance ingredients, Amyris found that the purity and molecular structure of Biofene allows it to be a flexible and highly-valuable building block for these markets.

In cosmetics “Biofene can be used as a renewable and sustainable building block from which key cosmetics and flavor & fragrance ingredients can be derived. It is a natural replacement for petroleum-derived or non-sustainable material (e.g. squalane extracted from shark liver),” explained Ena Cratsenburg, vice president of Business Development at Amyris.

“Biofene-derived ingredients are developed and manufactured to be either “drop-in” replacements for existing ingredients (such as the case with squalane) or novel ingredients that provide superior performance in formulation relative to what is currently available in the market,” she told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

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