Lygos Awarded Three Innovation Research Grants to Advance Applications for its Portfolio of Sustainable Specialty Biochemicals

Latest funding from DOE, USDA and NSF further validates company’s commitment to replacing toxic petrochemicals, reclaiming local manufacturing and reviving industrial chemical innovation  

Lygos, Inc., a full-stack producer of specialty chemicals that deliver high-value performance without the environmental toxicity, today announced three innovation research grants totaling $750,000 of non-equity funding to support advanced research and development. These funds have been awarded through separate grants from the United States Department of Energy (DOE), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“These three grants are a vital tool for driving innovation and exploring new approaches to outdated or challenging manufacturing practices,” said Eric Steen, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of Lygos. “Lygos is proud to partner with these agencies and their tremendous teams of scientists to apply our bio-based specialty chemicals in ways that revive innovation across large-scale industries from consumer electronics to health and nutrition to high-performance plastics and materials.”

The following three Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants will support the development of new approaches for the sustainable production of high-value, specialty organic acids used to manufacture a variety of high-performance polymers.

  • National Science Foundation Phase IIB SBIR Grant ($500K) aims to develop new technologies to fix CO2 during microbial biochemical production, providing new ways to capture and valorize this abundant greenhouse gas.
  • DOE Phase I SBIR Grant ($150K) concentrates on solving purity and cost issues related to the incumbent processes used in glycolic acid manufacturing.
  • USDA Phase I SBIR Grant ($100K) focuses on biological technologies to produce glyceric acid, an enabling chemical for manufacturing new polycarbonates.

“The current petrochemical processes used to manufacture specialty chemicals like malonic, glycolic and glyceric acids, are not only expensive but they also have significant health, safety and environmental concerns,” said Jeffrey Dietrich, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Lygos. “At Lygos, we are focusing our effort on providing sustainable, cost-competitive biological solutions that address some of these fundamental inefficiencies in current petrochemical manufacturing processes.”

Lygos’ proprietary platform is based on a high-throughput combination of computational modeling, unique microbe engineering and screening, and machine learning to identify and develop new bio-routes to chemicals. Lygos uses modern biotechnology to deliver the benefits of petroleum-based and other industrial chemical technology without environmental toxicity at competitive prices. Lygos also develops unique bio-based routes to chemical functionalities to expand the performance window in diverse materials systems. Lygos’ customers seek sustainable cost-efficient solutions for applications where industrial chemistry uses expensive, environmentally degrading options or has none to offer.


About Lygos

Lygos has created a full-stack biological engineering platform focused on organic acid specialty chemicals and bio-monomers. Lygos’ sustainable, bio-based chemicals replace expensive, environmentally degrading alternatives from traditional industrial suppliers, enabling customers to create better, safer products with value-added performance.

Lygos, the Lygos logo and Bio-Malonic are trademarks of Lygos, Inc. All other brands may be trademarks of their respective holders.


Lygos, press release, 2019-03-11.


National Science Foundation (USA)
US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
US Department of Energy (DoE)


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