Why genetically engineering microbes to make biofuel failed

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Biotech company LS9 launched in 2005 with great ambitions: founded by premier scientists and top-flight venture capitalists, it planned to genetically engineer microorganisms to make hydrocarbon fuels such as diesel cost-effectively from sugar.

But after nine years and $81 million in investment, the owners of LS9 sold the San Francisco-based company last month to biodiesel maker Renewable Energy Group for $40 million in cash and stock, with an additional $21.5 million promised if technology and production milestones are met.

LS9 had hoped to be selling diesel to refineries at least two years ago. Instead, Renewable Energy Group, based in Ames, Iowa, intends to use the LS9 process to make smaller-volume specialty chemicals sometime in the next two years, and it has no immediate plans to make biofuel with the LS9 technology.

Read the full, original story: Why the Promise of Cheap Fuel from Super Bugs Fell Short

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