Founded in 2003 in the San Francisco Bay Area by a group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, Amyris uses breakthrough science and an innovative business model to address some of our planet’s most daunting problems.
Amyris’s first major milestone came in 2005 when, through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, our scientists developed technology capable of creating microbial strains to produce artemisinic acid — a precursor of artemisinin, an effective anti-malarial drug. Malaria is a preventable, curable disease that claims the lives of more than half a million people a year.
In 2008, we entered into an agreement with Sanofi-Aventis to license Amyris technology a royalty free basis for the purpose of manufacturing and commercializing artemisinin-based drugs for the treatment of malaria. In 2013, Sanofi began large-scale industrial production of Artemisinin utilizing Amyris designed strains. Amyris remains committed to expanding the reach of anti-malarial treatments, and its founders have helped establish a non-profit called Zagaya.
Building on this success, Amyris began applying its industrial synthetic biology platform to provide alternatives to a broad range of petroleum-sourced products. Amyris focused its development efforts on the production of Biofene, Amyris’s brand of renewable farnesene, and on delivering a renewable alternative to petroleum-sourced fuels and chemicals.
After a series of successful rounds of venture capital funding supported the development of early stages of our proprietary industrial synthetic biology platform, Amyris undertook an initial public offering in September 2010. Amyris shares are traded in the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol AMRS.
To support our initial commercial production, Amyris leveraged contract-manufacturing capabilities to begin producing Biofene at various sites around the world. Amyris’s first purpose-designed, industrial-scale Biofene plant located Brotas, São Paulo, in the southeastern Brazil, began commercial production in early 2013.
Amyris remains focused on developing its core technology to produce renewable products to the world, starting with products derived from Biofene. With about 400 employees today and millions of dollars invested, Amyris remains a breakthrough renewable products company built on a foundation of disruptive innovation for the greater good.
We founded Amyris with an ambitious goal: to deliver on the promise of synthetic biology by finding a new way to produce an anti-malarial treatment that was limited in supply and volatile in price. Today, that dream is a reality and lives are being saved.Jack Newman