Metabolix, a Massachusetts company that developed a bio-based additive for recycled PVC, is scrambling financially and could be forced to scale back or shut down.
Founded in 1992, Cambridge, Mass.-based Metabolix makes a bio-based polymeric additive for improving the physical properties of recycled PVC, allowing for higher recycled content in PVC products.
In a May 16 press release, the publicly traded company said it is sitting down with potential buyers for the biopolymers business.
“The Company cited outside strategic interest in its biopolymers business as well as a challenging financing environment as key considerations leading to this development,” according to the press release.
If Metabolix can’t find additional funding for its review of strategic alternatives for the business, “it will be forced to wind down some or all of its operations and pursue options for liquidating the Company’s assets, including inventory, equipment and intellectual property,” according to the press release.
On May 18, it announced it generated a $2 million lump sum by amending a deal it has with medical device company Tepha, but it said its search for funding is ongoing. In exchange for the lump sum, Metabolix agreed to forgo future royalties under a license agreement, and it agreed to provide two additional Metabolix production strains and related intellectual property to Tepha for use in its medical devices.
The company’s additives and bio-plastics are based on PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates), which occurs naturally in living organisms and is chemically similar to polyester. In addition to the PVC additive, Metabolix has an additive to improve the properties of PLA while retaining the bio-derived plastic’s degradability in commercial composting systems.
The company also makes biodegradable plastics with its technology.
According to a company presentation, the company’s i6003 additive boosts tensile toughness and strength in flexible PVC products when added to 100 percent recycled PVC or recycled-virgin blends.