No. of Recommendations: 1
I had written earlier about SZYM's desire to target the top end of a barrel of oil and the threat companies like Synthetic Genomics pose as they create things that have never existed before (using hundreds of millions of Exxon's dollars). Here is a snip from a news item from SGI that caught my attention:

Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), a privately held company commercializing and developing genomic-driven solutions to solve a range of global challenges, today announced they have purchased an 81 acre site for scale up and testing of newly identified and engineered algal strains. The company will use the site, located in the Imperial Valley near the Salton Sea, to test algal strains isolated by SGI or developed through SGI’s proprietary synthetic genomic technologies, and to develop integrated processes for low cost manufacture of various algal products, including food, flavorings, and nutritional products.

Consider this:

Solazyme has raised at least $125 million throughout its eight years of existence, from investors including Chevron’s VC arm, Morgan Stanley, Richard Branson, and food and personal product giant Unilever. Unilever wants to use algae to replace palm oil, because the harvesting of palm oil has led to deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia and has drawn the criticism of environmentalists.

Add in the $198 million SZYM raised with their IPO and you are looking at what Exxon promised SGI in 2009. And, this is what SGI already has:

Current methods to produce fuel from algae include processes that resemble farming. Algal cells are grown, harvested, and then bioprocessed to recover the lipids from within the cells. In contrast, in one of our solutions, SGI has engineered algal cells to secrete oil in a continuous manner through their cell walls, thus facilitating the production of algal fuels and chemicals in large-scale industrial operations. Our first product in this area is a biocrude to be used as a feedstock in refineries.

SZYM has great partners and great potential. What it also has is competition that has the advantage of being private. While SZYM is publicly stating where they are going, others are working more privately which allows them greater flexibility in when they let the world know what they are doing.

I have no position in SZYM.

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