As investors see it, “Biotechnology promises to enable the chemical industry in remarkable ways. That said, only businesses with strong fundamentals and commercial products will be successful,” believes Eli Casdin, chief investment officer of Casdin Capital, according to remarks shared in Genomatica’s media release about the new funding.
“Genomatica,” says Casdin, “is one of the few companies with that profile; and fresh capital now enables them to grow that position substantially.”
The new equity investment funding Genomatica is working with amounts to $90m. The money will be used to develop new commercial-scale chemical production technologies, advance existing partnerships, and reinforce the company's position as a personal care ingredient supplier.
Committing to the industry
For the company’s current and prospective personal care and cosmetics clients, the newly secured $90m in funding means that Genomatica’s bio-tech butylene glycol will be available on a global, commercial scale and “outcompete petrochemical technologies,” according to the release. The company also intends to develop new fermentation processes with some of the funds, perhaps a sign that in the future Genomatica will supply beauty makers with other molecules and ingredients.
“Personal care industry leaders should feel confident about their decision to migrate to naturally-sourced Brontide [butylene glycol],” says Damien Perriman, Genomatica’s senior vice president of specialty chemicals, in comments shared via email with Cosmetics Design. “Genomatica and its distribution partners” he emphasizes, “are well-equipped to meet today’s increasing consumer demand for more sustainable, better-for-you products that positively impact the environment.”
Becoming closer partners
Ginkgo Bioworks is not just an investor, the industry-agnostic biological design company is also a tech partner. With the new investment, the two biotech ventures will work together even more closely. Genomatica will have more access to Ginkgo’s “foundry capabilities and services,” according to the media release.
“Genomatica has delivered high-volume bio-based chemicals to market at costs competitive with petrochemical production, not just once but multiple times,” Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, tells the press. “We’re doubling down on renewable chemicals through our close relationship with Genomatica – and we’re honored to continue to partner with the best in the market.”
Making new molecules
Genomatics produces two chemicals as industrial scale: 1,4-butanediol (BDO) for use in plastics and Brontide or butylene glycol for use in cosmetics and personal care formulations. With the new funding the company intends to augment its initial work with a third output, the nylon-6 polymer.
“Genomatica is advancing a new process to make 100% biobased nylon-6 for clothing and carpets, to help move toward a more sustainable and circular textile economy,” according to the release. “Genomatica’s partners include Aquafil and the EFFECTIVE consortium, a dozen firms including brands such as H&M, Carvico, Vaude, and Balsan.”
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.