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Tate & Lyle and Microbia form fermentation ingredients pact

October 2, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 40

Tate & Lyle and Microbia Precision Engineering (MPE) are expected to announce this week the formation of a five-year partnership to develop fermentation-derived ingredients for food and industrial markets. London-based Tate & Lyle is one of the world's major producers of fermentation-based chemicals and other ingredients. MPE, majority-owned by the drug discovery firm Microbia, develops bioprocesses on its own and in collaboration with chemical and pharmaceutical industry partners. Under the agreement, Tate & Lyle will invest $7 million to acquire a minority stake in MPE and will spend a further $13.75 million on R&D over the five-year period. The two firms will share the profits from any products they commercialize. Tate & Lyle already operates several fermentation-based partnerships, including one with DuPont that is completing a $100 million plant in Loudon, Tenn., for the polyester intermediate propanediol. Although Tate & Lyle brings mainly raw material and fermentation know-how to its existing ventures, Jeff Lievense, vice president for technology and process development, says the MPE partnership will be integrated back to microbe development. MPE CEO Richard Bailey says the partners have already identified two products from Tate & Lyle and one from his company for further development.


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