Amyris (company)

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Amyris, Inc.
Industry Renewable Fuels, Anti-Malaria, Renewable Chemicals, Renewable Products
Founded 2003
Headquarters Emeryville, California, USA
Key people
John Melo: CEO
Revenue Increase None
Number of employees
300 - 350

Amyris is an integrated renewable products company providing sustainable alternatives to a broad range of petroleum-sourced products and rare materials. Amyris, in conjunction with various partners, is creating industrial scale supplies of vitamins, captive perfume molecules like Ambroxan, a patchouli substitute and Farnesene which can be used in tires, and lubricant, as well as their own beauty care product line using squalane, their substitute molecule for shark oil. Amyris uses its industrial synthetic biology platform to convert plant sugars into a variety of hydrocarbon molecules, flexible building blocks which can be used in a wide range of products. They do this by reengineering yeast so it can recreate complicated molecules. The time to market was reduced four fold after Amyris teamed with Darpa. Amyris is commercializing these products both as renewable ingredients in cosmetics, flavors, fragrances, polymers, lubricants and consumer products, and also as renewable diesel and jet fuels. Amyris Brasil S.A., a subsidiary of Amyris, oversees the establishment and expansion of Amyris’s production in Brazil. Amyris also has fuel distribution capabilities in the United States through its subsidiary, Amyris Fuels LLC. Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Emeryville, Ca, Amyris has raised over $120 million in equity funding to-date, including investments from Royal DSM, Total S.A., Khosla Ventures, Votorantim Novos Negócios, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TPG Biotech, and DAG Ventures as well as DARPA. Amyris is opening two more plants in New Zealand and Korea in proximity to sustainable sugar cane crops.

The company went public on NASDAQ in October 2010 (AMRS) but as of January 2013, was trading at less than 30% of its initial offering price due to lack of commercial success in cost-effectively producing "drop in" synthetic transportation fuel, which was to be its initial, major focus. The firm has now focused its attention on higher-priced and higher-margin products that are not in the transportation fuel area [1]

Renewable fuels[edit]

Amyris' technology platform, branded "No Compromise," is focused on providing high performance petroleum-alternatives, using sustainable feedstock such as sugarcane.

Amyris is establishing the partnerships and capabilities needed to bring the renewable diesel fuel to market. A few of these actions include:

  • distributing ethanol through a US subsidiary, Amyris Fuels, based in Chicago IL.
  • building a large scale production facility at Sao Martino, one of Brazil's largest ethanol producers
  • joint venture with Cosan, one of Brazil's largest ethanol distributors and marketers


Artemisinin is a compound naturally found in the Chinese Sweet Wormwood plant effective in the treatment of malaria. Its production is hampered by difficult climate and agricultural conditions. Institute for OneWorld Health received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and produce non-seasonal, high-quality, affordable artemisinin, and engaged Amyris Biotechnologies and Sanofi to assist on certain parts of the project, which is near completion, based on technology from UC Berkeley, NRC Canada, and other sources.

Media coverage[edit]

  • Using Microbes to create the Next Generation of Fuels on CNN The Next List (February 2013)
  • A Better Biofuel on MIT Technology Review (April 2007)
  • Bets on Biotech on US News (November 2006)


  1. ^ Fast Company Magazine (8 August 2012), "The Rise and Fall of the Company That Was Going to Have Us All Using Biofuels."

External links[edit]