Metabolix Inc. has found a new manufacturing partner, giving new life to its Mirel polyhydroxyalkanoate 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 LLC joint venture with Metabolix.
Since then, Metabolix has been supplying customers with Mirel from its existing inventory, which the company said currently is about 5 million pounds.
Metabolix of Cambridge, Mass., which has its biopolymers group office in nearby Lowell, Mass., said July 26 it had signed a letter of intent with Antibióticos SA to manufacture Mirel at an Antibióticos plant in Leon, Spain.
Alcobendas, Spain-based Antibióticos makes active pharmaceutical ingredients and has experience in the fermentation and semi-synthesis processes needed to produce PHA, which occurs naturally in microorganisms and plants.
“The agreement ... represents a significant step forward in establishing a new supply chain for Mirel biopolymers,” Metabolix CEO and President Richard Eno said in a news release.
The company expects to be able to bridge supply from existing inventory until a commercial supply of Mirel is available next year, Eno said.
The companies will test their 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, Antibióticos president.
“Then, we'll look ahead to creating a contract manufacturing agreement.”
In the second quarter of this year, Metabolix had $400,000 in biopolymer sales.
Total revenue in the second quarter of 2012 was $900,000, compared with $200,000 for the comparable quarter in 2011. The company reported a loss of $7.9 million for the 2012 second quarter, compared with a $10 million loss in the second quarter of 2011.
For the first half of 2012, Metabolix had net income of $20.9 million compared to a net loss of $19.6 million in the first half of 2011. However, that difference was primarily because of the addition to its coffers of $38.9 million in deferred income that Metabolix realized as a result of terminating the Telles joint venture with ADM.
Metabolix said it currently expects cash use 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 about $48 million to $50 million.