ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--()--Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), a renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, today received two patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on important technologies that enable the low-cost, high-yield production of biobased isobutanol. The Company also filed a lawsuit against Butamax™ and its affiliate DuPont. The lawsuit charges that Butamax and Dupont infringe Gevo’s two newly-issued patents.
“We used synthetic biology to reprogram the yeast to make isobutanol instead of ethanol. In other words, we changed the yeast so that it makes what we want instead of what it wants, and we made it so it does it really well.”
Gevo was awarded U.S. Patent No. 8,017,375, “Yeast Organism Producing Isobutanol at a High Yield” (“PDC Patent”), and U.S. Patent No. 8,017,376, “Methods of Increasing Dihydroxy Acid Dehydratase Activity to Improve Production of Fuels, Chemicals, and Amino Acids” (“AFT Patent”).
Gevo’s PDC Patent focuses on converting an ethanol producing yeast into an isobutanol producing one. This significant discovery virtually eliminates ethanol production in yeast and enables Gevo’s yeast to survive and thrive by producing isobutanol at high yields. The AFT Patent covers one of the key enzymatic steps in Gevo’s unique intracellular pathway for producing isobutanol in yeast.
“In layman’s terms, these inventions, and others addressed in Gevo’s pending patent applications, help to turn an industrial yeast strain into a highly efficient cell factory to produce isobutanol,” said Brett Lund, EVP & General Counsel of Gevo. “We used synthetic biology to reprogram the yeast to make isobutanol instead of ethanol. In other words, we changed the yeast so that it makes what we want instead of what it wants, and we made it so it does it really well.”
In combination, the inventions described in these two patents are part of Gevo’s unique technology to produce isobutanol. The patents grant to Gevo the right to exclude others from using this technology in the U.S. for their own purposes without Gevo’s consent.
“Our lawsuit is based on Butamax’s own publications describing their use of the technology that Gevo invented first and for which we have received patents,” said Mr. Lund. “We expect the breadth and strength of our patent estate to grow considerably over the coming months as our patent applications convert into granted patents.”
Gevo is converting existing ethanol plants into biorefineries to make renewable building block products for the chemical and fuel industries. The Company plans to convert renewable raw materials into isobutanol and renewable hydrocarbons that can be directly integrated on a “drop in” basis into existing chemical and fuel products to deliver environmental and economic benefits. Gevo is committed to a sustainable biobased economy that meets society’s needs for plentiful food and clean air and water. For more information, visit www.gevo.com
Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements relate to a variety of matters, including but not limited to the strength of the Company’s intellectual property position, the conversion of the Company’s pending patent applications into granted patents and other statements that are not purely statements of historical fact. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Gevo and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Although the company believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve many risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. For a further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Gevo in general, see the risk disclosures in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Gevo for the year ended December 31, 2010, and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Gevo.