Lygos, a start-up that’s scaling up production of the industrial monomer malonic acid using yeast fermentation, has acquired Librede, a fermentation specialist targeting a very different market: cannabinoids. The two firms have long known each other as members of California’s synthetic biology community, Lygos CEO Eric Steen tells C&EN. He points out that while their markets differ, the purified, rare cannabinoids that Librede makes share structural components with malonic acid. The companies have not disclosed the cannabinoids they plan to sell, but Librede’s process can make common ones such as cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol as well as rare compounds including cannabigerol, cannabichromene, and molecules that have a pentyl group rather than the more typical propyl group. Those molecules, which include cannabidivarin, are hypothesized to have different health effects than their more ordinary cousins. Lygos will apply its expertise in scale-up and purification to make the ingredients for the cosmetics market later this year. That timeline will help Lygos generate sales before it begins building its malonic acid facility in 2022 or 2023, Steen says.