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Metabolix grants patent license to NatureWorks

By Frank Esposito, Plastics News
Posted 15 March 2012

In a deal between two bioplastics leaders, Metabolix, has licensed a patent covering bio-based PLA resin to NatureWorks.

The patent - known as the 199 patent - covers production of PLA blended with polybutylene succinic polymers and similar materials, officials with Cambridge, Mass.-based Metabolix said in a news release.

“This research greatly expands the uses of PLA in biodegradable plastics, because the blends allow for a stronger, more flexible form,” inventor and patent-holder Stephen Mccarthy said in the release.

NatureWorks is based in the US and operates a commercial-scale PLA plant in Nebraska. The plant ranks as the world’s largest bioplastics facility. NatureWorks is a joint venture between agricultural giant Cargill and plastics and chemicals maker PTT Chemical of Thailand.

Metabolix last year started commercial production of bio-based PHA resin at a plant in Iowa. But the firm suffered a blow earlier this year when agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland pulled out of a commercial alliance between the two firms, citing insufficient results.

Metabolix has struggled financially, losing almost $40m (€30.6m) in 2011.

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