Amyris receives DARPA contract for synthetic biology platform

Amyris, Inc., an Emeryville, California-based integrated renewable products company, has been awarded a U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract related to its synthetic biology platform.

The DARPA contract, worth approximately $8 million, will allow the company to expand the scope of its industrial synthetic biology technology platform across various cell types and biological platforms. The contract is contingent on Amyris meeting specific technical milestones related to DARPA's Living Foundries research initiative.

"Amyris's cutting edge technology platform has been used to produce a life-saving anti-malarial drug as well as renewable fuels and chemicals," John Melo, the president and CEO of Amyris, said. "In support of DARPA's 'Living Foundries' program, we will leverage our technology expertise to develop improved DNA assembly and rapid integration across complex biological platforms."

In September, DARPA's Living Foundries program released documents online soliciting for proposals as part of a broad agency announcement.

"(We are seeking) innovative proposals to develop new tools, technologies and methodologies to transform biology into an engineering practice, speeding the biological design-build-test cycle and expanding the complexity of systems that can be engineered," DARPA said.

Amyris uses its platform to convert sugar from plants into various hydrocarbon molecules to be used in products such as polymers, consumer products, renewable diesel and jet fuel, flavors and fragrances, lubricants and jet fuels.

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