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Virent and Coca-Cola partnership on 100% bio PET further expanded

The Coca-Cola Co. is making an additional investment in the development and commercialization of Virent's bio-based paraxylene, BioFormP, Virent announced today. This investment will enable the company to scale up separation and purification of BioFormPX material at its demonstration plant in Madison, WI.

Virent has developed catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based materials into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum. PET made from Virent's bio-based paraxylene features the same high quality and recyclability as the petroleum-based materials traditionally used, with the added benefit of being made from a wide range of renewable materials. In the course of the collaboration with Coca-Cola, Virent has progressed its PX technology to commercial readiness, improved the process economics and produced bio-based PX which has been converted by Coca-Colainto 100% bio-based PET bottles. This new investment will allow production of larger quantities of BioFormPX material.

Virent and Coca-Cola have been working together since 2011, when the companies signed the initial joint development and supply agreements to investigate the use of Virent's paraxylene as a route to 100% renewable PlantBottle PET resin.

That was the same year that Coca-Cola also announced multi-million dollar partnership agreements with two other biotechnology companies - Gevo and Avantium - as part of its push to accelerate the development of 100% plant-based packaging materials.

The collaboration with Virent has proven fruitful, says Coca-Cola. "Over the course of our work together, Virent has continuously delivered on their commitments and advanced their technology," said Scott Vitters, general manager of the PlantBottle innovation platform at Coca-Cola. "That progress supports building additional capability for Virent and advances us on the path to a full-scale commercial solution for our 100% plant-based PET plastic packaging".

A sentiment echoed by Vivent. "The Coca-Cola Company continues to be a valued partner for Virent. Their intention to use our BioFormPX material in the next generation of PlantBottle packaging is critical in attracting manufacturing partners from the PET supply chain. This - along with the progress we've made in our joint development work - moves us closer to seeing the first commercial 100% bio-based PET bottles on retail shelves made using Virent technology" said Lee Edwards, Virent CEO.

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