CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (July 27, 2:30 p.m. ET) — Metabolix Inc. has found a new manufacturing partner, giving new life to its Mirel polyhydroxyalkanoates biopolymer resin.
The agreement comes six months after Archer Daniels Midland Inc. stopped producing Mirel PHA at the ADM fermentation plant in Clinton, Iowa, and terminated its Telles joint venture with Metabolix.
Since then, Metabolix has been supplying customers with Mirel from its existing inventory, which the company said currently is approximately 5 million pounds.
Metabolix — which is based in Cambridge, Mass., and has its biopolymers group office in nearby Lowell, Mass. — said July 26 that it has signed a letter of intent with Spanish-based Antbioticos SA to manufacture Mirel at an Antibioticos plant in Leon, Spain.
Antibioticos is a manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, and has expertise in both the fermentation and semi-synthesis processes needed to produce PHA, which occurs naturally in micro-organisms and plants.
“The agreement ... represents a significant step forward in establishing a new supply chain for Mirel biopolymers to serve our customers worldwide,” said Metabolix CEO and President Richard Eno in a statement issued by the company.
“With the implementation of our new supply chain plan now underway, we expect to have productive discussions with customers to bridge existing biopolymer inventory [and bring] new commercial supply [to the market] in 2013 and to continue product development in high value-added applications.”
The companies plan to sign a manufacturing agreement after completing economic and feasibility studies, and after jointly conducting a series of validation production runs at the Antibioticos plant to demonstrate the ability to ferment and recover Mirel biopolymer resin on full production-scale equipment.
“The first step of our work with Metabolix will be to validate their technology in our facility,” said Daniele Pucci Di Benisichi, president of Antibioticos. “Then, we'll look ahead to creating a contract manufacturing agreement.”
In the second quarter, Metabolix had $400,000 in biopolymer sales, and lost $7.9 million, compared to a $10 million loss in the second quarter of 2011.
In the first half of 2012, Metabolix had a positive net income of $20.9 million compared to a net loss of $19.6 million in the first half of 2011. However, that was primarily because of the addition to its coffers of $38.9 million in deferred income that Metabolix realized as a result of the termination of the Telles joint venture with ADM.
Metabolix said it currently expects cash usage from operations for 2012 in the range of $28 million to $30 million, and expects to end 2012 with a cash and investments balance before any capital expenditures of approximately $48 million to $50 million.