Updated — Bioresin producer Metabolix Inc. is relocating its headquarters but it will remain in the Boston area.
Metabolix has signed a 10½-year lease for 30,000 square feet in Woburn, Mass., and plans to move there in June, vacating its current Cambridge, Mass., base, which is about 10 miles away.
In May of next year, the company also will move other operations now doing some corporate functions, from Lowell, Mass., into the Woburn site, said Lynne Brum, Metabolix vice president of marketing, in a phone interview.
“Access to the vibrant biotechnology community of Greater Boston was an important factor in evaluating relocation options,” said Metabolix President and CEO Joseph Shaulson in a Jan. 26 news release.
“With the new space in Woburn, we will be able to upgrade and expand our biopolymer applications development lab to support customer projects as we continue to ramp up our PHA biopolymer market development activities and work to transition from pilot scale to commercial scale operations.”
Metabolix is and will continue to be in a biotechnology hotbed. Boston alone houses 67 biotechnology companies, from AbVitro to Ziopharm Oncology, according to information on the BioPharmGuy website.
Shaulson said the move will reduce the firm's footprint and significantly reduce facilities-related leasing and operating costs starting in 2017. The new headquarters will contain a modern laboratory with a microbial fermentation setup and expanded development capabilities.
Brum said the firm's current lease in Cambridge costs about $42 per square foot, compared with about $25 in the Woburn location.
Metabolix also hopes to bring its Yield10 crop-based science laboratory in Massachusetts into the new facility. Brum said her company is looking for investors in the Yield10 program with the objective to spin off the program while Metabolix continues to be involved in the research. Yield10 is striving to boost the yield of PHA production and to be able to use a wider range of biomass feedstocks. The program also is working on different microbe strains to make them more specific in production of amorphous PHA and semi-crystalline PHA. The two PHA types have different properties to help differentiate the resins in the market.
Metabolix is focusing on specialty applications for its Mirel PHA polymers, such as performance additives for vinyl and polylactic acid resins, and denitrification pellets for water treatment.
In October the company agreed to a stock purchase agreement with Aspire Capital Fund LLC under which Aspire has committed to buy up to $20 million of Metabolix common stock over a 30-month period. Shaulson noted the agreement complements other financing and makes the company's capital structure more flexible.
For nine months ended Sept. 30, Metabolix reported a net loss from continuing operations of $17.8 million, down 15 percent from the loss of the year-earlier period. Sales at $2.1 million were 10 percent higher.