LANSING, MICH. (Oct. 20, 2:55 p.m. ET) — Renewable polymers company Draths Corp. has a new owner that plans to move the company out of its current locations in Michigan.
Draths executives said Oct. 20 that confidentiality agreements do not permit them to disclose the name of its new owner.
But the plan is to close down the current 30,000 square foot plant in Delhi Township that the company just moved into one year ago, lay off most of the company's 40 workers, and move the headquarters out of Lansing.
“The upside of the acquisition is that the development and commercialization of our technology will be accelerated by a company with substantially greater resources, so our products will likely reach commercial scale sooner than they would have with the resources we could afford to invest ourselves,” said Allen Julian, business development director for Draths.
“Clearly the ‘bad news' is that the location in Michigan will be closed, with many resulting layoffs,” he said.
The Lansing State Journal reported that all but two of the company's workers would be laid off, and that the company's top executive, Dex Brown, would not be staying.
Draths makes bio-based purified terephthalic acid, using synthetic biology and a fermentation process to make muconic acid as the building block for its bio-based PTA. Its overall strategy is to produce bio-based monomers such as PET, nylon 6, nylon 6/6, and urethanes for fiber applications.
At the recent Bioplastek conference in New York, the 6-year-old company said its goal was to have a 1,000-kilogram pilot plant for PTA by 2012, a 10-million-kg demonstration plant between 2013 and 2014, and a 100 million-kg commercial plant by 2015.
That plan could be accelerated under the new ownership.
Draths also is currently developing bio-based caprolactum to make nylon 6, and bio-based hexamethylenediamine and adipic acid to make nylon 6/6 and polyurethane. Caprolactum is further along in development, as the company had been seeking partners to make HMDA and adipic acid.
The company was founded in December 2005 by two Michigan State University professors, Karen Draths and John Frost. Its major financial investors have been green tech and clean tech venture capital firms, Khosla Ventures, TPG Biotech, and CMEA Capital.