Materials firm Metabolix Inc. might be exiting the biopolymers market.
In a May 16 news release, officials with the Woburn, Mass.-based firm said that Metabolix “is exploring strategic alternatives,” including the potential sale of its PHA biopolymers business or its Yield10 bioscience unit.
Officials cited “outside strategic interest” in the biopolymers business as a reason for the announcement. They also confirmed that Metabolix “is currently engaged in discussions with interested parties” regarding a potential biopolymers sale.
Although its plant-based resins have won several industry awards, Metabolix has struggled financially. The firm posted a loss of almost $23.7 million in 2015 as sales fell 7 percent to just under $2.6 million. Metabolix lost $29.5 million in 2014.
In the May 16 release, officials said the firm had cash and cash equivalents of $5.3 million.
The announcement came less than two months after Metabolix said it had a plan in place to bring its biopolymers production back to the United States. The firm had signed an agreement with South Korean agricultural firm CJ CheilJedang Corp. to build a plant making Mirel-brand PHA bioresins at a CJ site in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
No dates for the planned project were announced. CJ already operates a fermentation unit in Fort Dodge. Metabolix hasn't made its materials in the U.S. since early 2012, when Archer Daniels Midland ended a production deal between the two firms at a plant in Clinton, Iowa.
Later in 2012, Metabolix struck a deal with Spanish pharmaceuticals firm Antibioticos SA to make PHA at a plant in Leon, Spain.
On Wall Street, Metabolix's per-share stock price was above $4 as recently as mid-2015 but was around 75 cents in early trading June 28.