Metabolix Demonstrates Improved PHA Production in Tobacco

Research Furthers Potential for Biobased Plastics and Chemicals in Non-Food Bioenergy Crops

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX), a leading industrial biotechnology company focused on developing clean, sustainable solutions for plastics, chemicals and energy, today announced the publication of its most recent scientific achievements in the development of advanced genetic engineering approaches to achieve high levels of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) in non-food biomass crops.

The plastid genome of the research crop tobacco was engineered using Metabolix’s multi-gene expression technology, resulting in fertile transgenic plants producing PHA at levels of up to nine percent of the total plant weight. PHA levels of up to 17 percent were found in leaf tissue. Metabolix’s engineered tobacco plants produce 10 times more PHA bioplastic than previously published reports for tobacco. These findings continue to demonstrate the Company’s ground-breaking scientific capabilities and continued progress on using new tools to improve its programs to develop advanced biomass crops as biorefinery feedstocks.

A detailed scientific paper entitled “High levels of bioplastic are produced in fertile transplastomic tobacco plants engineered with a synthetic operon for production of polyhydroxybutyrate” was published online in Plant Physiology, a peer-reviewed journal from the American Society of Plant Biologists, on February 16, 2011. The article will also appear in the April 2011 print edition of the journal focused on plastid biology.

PHAs are a family of renewable polymeric carbon storage materials, which have a broad range of industrial applications as performance, biodegradable bioplastics and as renewable starting materials for the production of a number of existing specialty and commodity chemicals. As polymers, PHA bioplastics offer excellent performance in use and have the unique ability to biodegrade in a wide range of environments including compost, soil, wetlands, marine and anaerobic digestion facilities. As a starting material for the production of renewable chemicals, PHAs offer exceptional, highly efficient, low cost recovery and conversion opportunities for the production of a number of specialty and commodity chemicals. By producing PHAs directly in biomass crops, Metabolix plans to further improve the cost benefits, lifecycle performance and scale potential of renewable resource-based industrial products.

“The demonstration of this new approach to increase PHA production in the model biomass crop tobacco is an important milestone in further demonstrating the scientific and technical capabilities of the Company in the crop science field. This also represents continued progress towards our longer term objective for the biomass crop program and the recognition of our research by a peer-reviewed journal,” said Dr. Oliver Peoples, Chief Scientific Officer and vice president of Research and Development at Metabolix. “This work provides us with important new data and tools for the production of PHAs in plants as we continue to develop other targeted commercial crops including switchgrass.”

About Metabolix

Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation-driven bioscience company focused on providing sustainable solutions for the world’s needs for plastics, chemicals and energy. The Company is taking a systems approach, from gene to end product, integrating sophisticated biotechnology with advanced industrial practice. Metabolix is now developing and commercializing Mirel™, a family of high performance bioplastics which are biobased and biodegradable alternatives to many petroleum based plastics, through Telles, a joint venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company. Metabolix is also developing a proprietary platform technology for co-producing plastics, chemicals and energy, from crops such as switchgrass, oilseeds and sugarcane.

For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com. (MBLX-G)

Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release which are not strictly historical statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding expectations for Metabolix research and development, constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated and are detailed in Metabolix's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Metabolix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.

Contacts

Media:
Schwartz Communications
Keith Giannini or Jen Barlow, 781-684-0770
metabolix@schwartzcomm.com
or
Investors:
ICR
James Palczynski, 203-682-8229
james.palczynski@icrinc.com

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Contacts

Media:
Schwartz Communications
Keith Giannini or Jen Barlow, 781-684-0770
metabolix@schwartzcomm.com
or
Investors:
ICR
James Palczynski, 203-682-8229
james.palczynski@icrinc.com