Lygos is providing biotechnology solutions for today’s renewable chemical challenges, using biology and biochemistry to convert low-cost sugar to high-value chemicals. Lygos engineers microbes to convert sugars into high-value, industrial chemicals, targeting compounds where biological production is cost-advantaged over petrochemical production.
In 2011, Lygos was founded in the U.S.A. on a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Shortly thereafter, the Lygos team invented the first engineered microbe producing malonic acid.
For the last 75-years malonic acid has been produced from cyanide and chloroacetic acid, two costly and environmentally hazardous chemicals. The petrochemical production process has restricted market growth. Lygos' technology uses sugar and water, opening the door to new applications, using a low-cost microbial fermentation technology, enabling over $25B in downstream value to be unlocked.
Lygos' technology goes beyond engineering microbes and includes fermentation and purification development. The target products are the specialty chemicals of today that can grow into the commodity chemicals of tomorrow.
The bio-malonic acid technology is currently at pilot plant scale and the company is producing samples of malonic acid, dimethyl malonate, and diethyl malonate for its customers. In 2017, Lygos is planning to ship metric ton quantities of product.