Friday, September 16, 2011

Codexis Aims to Bridge Biotech and Carbon Capture

Codexis, a Redwood City, Calif.-based startup with oil giants Shell and Chevron among its backers, is in the business of so-called evolved biocatalysts: It takes a natural microbe or enzyme and tweaks the DNA sequences to create new variants, then searches for the variants best suited to development of new, potentially cheaper drugs (Pfizer used Codexis enzymes to produce Lipitor) and non-ethanol biofuels. This summer, the 7-year-old startup said it was looking for ways to apply this expertise to the emerging market for carbon capture technologies. Now Codexis has found a partner in that effort. Canadian carbon capture company CO2 Solution said late Tuesday afternoon that it’s scored a $2 million investment from Codexis, and that the two companies will work together on enzymatic carbon capture technology. According to the release, Codexis now owns a more than 16 percent stake in the firm. They plan to work on “economic validation” of enzymatic carbon capture technology.