The Buzz

Targeted Growth Spins Off Algae Startup

May 13, 2011
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Luke Timmerman, in Xconomy Seattle, writes that Margaret McCormick, Chief Operations Officer at Targeted Growth, is spinning off a new company from Targeted Growth, called Matrix Genetics, that will genetically modify single-cell cyanobacteria to make biofuels and specialty chemicals. She will be the CEO of the Seattle-based startup.

McCormick has led this quiet development effort for the past three years inside Targeted Growth. While that company pursued turning hybrid camelina seeds into jet fuel for Boeing, McCormick and her team of a dozen scientists were working behind the scenes on modifying cyanobacteria to produce more oils. Now that early tests have been passed, McCormick says this effort can compete with what’s being done at Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics and Cambridge, MA-based Joule Unlimited.

Matrix is made up of 12 scientists housed inside the Institute for Systems Biology. Jim Roberts, a professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Fred Cross, a professor at Rockefeller University in New York, are outside advisors who have played a key role, McCormick says.

The Matrix team, which includes scientists from Merck, Stanford, and the University of Washington, gravitated about three or four years ago from camelina to cyanobacteria for a few reasons, McCormick says. “The genetics of cyanobacteria are simple. Unlike higher organisms like leafy plants and animals, the cyanobacteria cells have no nucleus. The DNA is more accessible, and more malleable than in higher organisms, she says. Since you’re starting with a simpler template, that makes it a bit easier to get a grasp of the molecular pathways that cells follow through various life processes like growth, division, and death.”

So far, Matrix has five patent applications filed, and is on the fundraising trail, with a goal of securing its first $10 million to $15 million, McCormick says. “We believe the return on investment for us will be in the genetics. Our expertise has always been in the genetics, and we don’t have…to build out the entire value chain.”

Read the full story

Go to HOME Page

Copyright ©2010-2011 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Visit the A.I.M. Archives

AIM interview ArchivesAlgae 101 ArchivesHot Products ArchivesInnovations ArchivesMoney ArchivesProcess ArchivesResearch ArchivesScale Up ArchivesThe Buzz Archives

FREE Algae News & Updates

Sign up to receive breaking A.I.M. updates!

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
The GNT Group, a market leader in using algae as natural ingredients for color, has begun construction of an additional spirulina plant at its headquarters in Mierlo, the...
Algae.Tec has announced that, with the completion of the US$1M injection by Gencore, their nutraceutical plant upgrade in Cummings, Georgia, is progressing ahead of sched...
Since hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity, we are increasingly thinking about hydrogen as a successor to crude oil. But where will the hydrogen come from? Its ecologi...
Agcore Technologies LLC, producer of Agcore Spirulina, has announced that their 2016 expansion project to support their growing aquafeed demand is in the completion proce...
Haley Gray reports for 5280.com that Upslope Brewing Company, in Boulder, Colorado, is one step closer to its goal of becoming a zero-waste brewery. The craft beer maker ...
Portuguese microalgae producer, Allmicroalgae Natural Products S.A., has moved to the next stage in development of new production technologies to grow Nannochloropsis oce...
An unprecedented harmful algal bloom off the coast of New England this fall provided a unique opportunity for Waterville, Maine-based Colby College students studying at B...
The University of Kentucky (UK) Center for Applied Energy Research’s (CAER) Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group has received a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Ener...
Suzanne Michaels, writes for the Las Cruces Sun-News that big implications are resulting from what looks like a small algae research project using the City’s wastewater. ...
PhysOrg reports that recent efforts have been made by researchers in Japan to reduce the cost of biodiesel production by using pulsed electric fields (PEF) to extract hyd...
Diane Stopyra writes in Salon.com that a growing number of coastal states around the country are undertaking large-scale seaweed farming projects. While farms are underwa...
Marlene Cimons, nexusmedianews.com reports that researchers at the University of California San Diego and Sapphire Energy have successfully grown a genetically engineered...