Metabolix Inc., a bioscience company focused on developing clean, sustainable solutions for plastics, chemicals and energy, and the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) have announced that they are ending the Telles, LLC joint venture for PHA bioplastics as per February 8, 2012. As a result of this decision, Telles LLC, the sales and marketing commercial alliance created to commercialize Mirel, a biobased plastic, will be dissolved, and Mirel production on behalf of Telles will cease.
"We have analyzed our business portfolio, identifying areas that are not delivering sufficient results now or are not expected to deliver sufficient results within a reasonable timeframe," said Mark Bemis, president, ADM. "We have had a good working relationship with Metabolix, and the fermentation technology performed well at our facility. Unfortunately, uncertainty around projected capital and production costs, combined with the rate of market adoption, led to projected financial returns for ADM that are too uncertain. Therefore, we have decided to exit the business as permitted by the commercial alliance agreement with Metabolix."
Under the terms of their commercial alliance, ADM Polymer Corporation may provide PHA fermentation services for Metabolix during a three-year period following termination.
All Metabolix technology that was used in the joint venture, including intellectual property rights, will revert solely to Metabolix. In addition, Metabolix will have no ongoing obligation under the ledger account, which was funded by ADM to finance the Clinton plant and certain Telles operating costs.
"Clearly, we are disappointed by ADM's decision to withdraw from Telles. While this is a setback, we remain committed to successfully commercializing PHA bioplastics. Over the past few years, we now have proven the technology at industrial scale and believe that we now have the opportunity to launch this business with a different business model," said Richard Eno, Chief Executive Officer of Metabolix.
Metabolix plans to continue focus on development of renewable industrial chemicals, retaining a core team in its bioplastics group to provide continuity with the technology and market. The company said that it has continued to make good forward progress and remains in ongoing discussions with potential partners.
Due to the termination of the agreement with ADM, Metabolix is now free to open discussions with alternative manufacturing and commercialization partners for PHA bioplastics.