Syngenta and Diversa to Develop Enzymes for Biofuels

Syngenta and Diversa Corporation formed a 10-year research and development (R&D) partnership to develop a range of novel enzymes that will convert pre-treated cellulosic biomass economically to mixed sugars — a critical step in the process of biofuel production.

Converting biomass to biofuels requires breakthrough developments in three areas: chemical preparation of the cellulosic biomass (pre-treatment), conversion of pre-treated cellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars by combinations of enzymes (saccharification), and the development of novel micro-organisms to ferment the sugars to ethanol or other fuels (fermentation). Developing cost-effective enzyme systems is essential to economically converting biomass to biofuels. The new agreement allows Diversa to independently develop and commercialize fermentation-based enzyme combinations from its proprietary platform. Syngenta will have exclusive access to enzymes from Diversa’s platform to express in plants for enhanced cost-effective production. “We are pleased with the refocus of our collaboration with Syngenta,” said Edward Shonsey, Diversa’s CEO. “This agreement creates a highly focused collaboration to move further into the biofuel market … this agreement frees Diversa to pursue attractive opportunities for integrated commercialization of biofuels, particularly from cellulosic biomass.”
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