Amyris Biotechnologies, one of the best-funded companies deriving biofuels from synthetic microorganisms, has raised $24.75 million of a targeted $62 million third round of venture financing, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Emeryville, Calif. company has raised an impressive $120 million before now.
Both Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have invested in Amyris — also setting it apart as one of the companies to watch in the space. These firms have been joined by DAG Ventures and TPG Biotech.
Last year at this time, Amyris had a valuation of $470 million. At that time, it had just raised $91 million in its second round of funding. The company has also teamed up with another biofuel company in Brazil called Crystalsev to convert sugar into biofuels — the target is 200 million gallons of fuel a year by 2011, according to Earth2Tech. Its core business is engineering microorganisms to produce compounds from feedstocks that can be processed into analogs of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. It hopes to commercialize its gasoline technology by 2010 and the jet fuel by 2012.
The company competes with others like LS9, also creating hydrocarbon biofuel out of cellulosic feedstocks; Gevo; Rentech; and Synthetic Genomics, which produces algae-based biofuels. For now, none of these companies has ramped up to commercial scale, and there appears to be plenty of room in the industry for multiple players, especially as the technology continues to evolve.