This is the year of the Dragon in Chinese astrology, and the characteristics of people born under this sign also are a great description of the OPXBIO team and our ambitions for 2012 and beyond. Driven, passionate, unafraid of challenges, willing to take risks, innovative, and enterprising – this is how will realize our mission of transforming the business of chemistry to a more sustainable future.
We start 2012 with the positive momentum of a very successful 2011. Last year, we piloted our process for BioAcrylic and showed it will be cost-competitive with petro-acrylic when we go commercial. We increased the scale of our fermentation step by more than 15 times to gain additional confidence in the cost effectiveness of our technology.
During 2011, we started working with The Dow Chemical Company, the largest chemical company in the United States and a big producer of petro-acrylic, in a joint development project. Dow is using its technical, engineering, market, and financial strength in our strategic partnership to help speed up the path to BioAcrylic commercialization. Our hydrogen-to-biofuels project, which is supported by an award from the U.S. Department of Energy, achieved lab scale production of fatty acids that then were converted to renewable jet fuel and used to operate a small jet engine. Based on our team’s progress, we attracted $41.2 million of new capital from investors to fund our growth in 2012 and 2013.
Our ambitions for 2012 are no less audacious and we are driven by the challenge to realize them. In the year ahead, we intend to complete the larger scale demonstration of our BioAcrylic process to confirm attractive economics as well as product quality and performance that meet the needs of our future customers. This will lead to completing the plans for the world’s first commercial scale BioAcrylic plant to be constructed during 2013 and 2014. Also, beyond BioAcrylic, we have three new products in the works for which we are seeking development and commercialization partners.
We were fortunate to start the year with a feature article in the February issue of Washington Magazine published by Washington University in St. Louis from which chief scientific officer and co-founder Mike Lynch and I graduated. We are excited to produce a steady stream of good news about OPXBIO’s progress and “good chemistry” in 2012.