Evonik to acquire technology for fermentative production of methionine
Evonik Industries AG of Germany and METabolic EXplorer (METEX) of France have agreed to the former's acquirement of a technology package from METEX to strengthen its biotechnology platform for amino acids, following an agreement signed in Paris, France.
The package includes METEX's entire technology portfolio for the fermentative production of methionine, as well as patents, essential bacteria strains, and the inoLa™ brand. METEX considers that this agreement will underscore the relevance of METEX's alternative technologies and will strengthen its ability to commercialise its other technologies.
The transaction also includes a back license agreement pertaining to certain patents to be transferred to Evonik. The agreement will allow METEX to continue using these patents for activities other than those relating to methionine. Furthermore, the companies intend to explore the possibility of a research and development cooperation agreement on the development of biotechnologically produced amino acids.
The total consideration for the transfer of this technology, including a two-year transfer service agreement, amounts to EUR45 million (US$48 million).
Amino acids produced by fermentation are an important pillar of Evonik's product portfolio for sustainable animal nutrition. Production process efficiency for Biolys® (lysine), ThreAMINO® (threonine) and TrypAMINO® (tryptophane) has been continuously improved over the past few years, and the portfolio was recently expanded to include ValAMINO® (valine).
"Through its fermentative methionine production process, METEX has demonstrated excellent development work and was able to secure wide-ranging patent protection," Dr. Emmanuel Auer, head of Evonik's Animal Nutrition Business Line, said "The acquisition of this technology will expand our technological leadership for amino acids produced both chemically and by fermentation."
"We have been able to show that the fermentation process for manufacturing methionine is a potential alternative to familiar manufacturing routes. For all of the company's stakeholders, this is a validation of our technical leadership. Proceeds from the sale will accelerate our ability to further develop and market our other technologies, such as PDO, MPG, or new high-value-added molecules," Benjamin Gonzalez, CEO of METEX, explained "The technology will be transferred to Evonik immediately after the required approval of Evonik committees. This is expected before mid-December 2016."
"METEX has many years of experience in the field of strain development and fermentation technology," Auer added. "We believe the potential exists to develop viable process optimisation methods for products manufactured using biotechnology - in animal nutrition and beyond. This acquisition will complement and broaden Evonik's technology portfolio for important innovation fields."
As Gonzalez sees it, amino acids are clearly high-value-added products. "We are confident that our expertise will deliver new competitive solutions beyond methionine," he said. "Improving processes for key natural products for animal feed is one of our top priorities. We look forward to the possibility of a constructive R&D partnership with Evonik to that effect."
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in the French town of Clermont-Ferrand, METabolic EXplorer is an industrial biochemistry company specialising in the development of biotechnology production processes for bio-based substances used in a wide variety of everyday products such as textile fibers and feed additives.
In the future, METEX will strengthen its focus on developing environmentally safe production processes for the consumer goods industry, thus catering to consumers' expectations of sustainable production processes.