June 2012 to
XenoBio (Houston, TX)
Worked closely with inventor, an Asst. Professor of Chemical Engineering at Ariz. St., to delineate advantages and limitations inherent in novel proprietary biosynthetic technologies. Led start-up through early stages (concept, business plan, prototyping, strategic alliance negotiations).Translated strengths and weaknesses into overarching business strategies:
Replacement of Intermediates: (1) Identified via SWOT analysis styrene producer lacking native benzene supply for whom alternative biosynthetic route through L-phenylalanine was attractive.(2) Targeted replacement of carcinogen & OSHA-controlled intermediates (benzene, ethylbenzene) with benign biosynthetic pathway.
Process Intensification: Explored potential advantage (merging processes in microbes rather than building out as equipment) and 2nd potential advantage (portability of genes) via forming strategic alliances (joint research grant proposals) with styrene producers, co-monomer producers, feedstock suppliers, and strain developers.
Product Life Cycle/Sustainability: Exploited use of renewable feedstocks and lowered GHG emissions via targeting/market segmentation and via piggybacking on published market research of ICIS/Genomatica.Process/Product Quality Improvement: Explored potentially advantageous, idiosyncratic aspects of own biosynthetic routes – the evolution of styrene as a vapor – which would manifest in (1) operating reactor in more productive, higher throughput mode, (2) utilizing in-situ (reactor) rather than additional distillation tower for product recovery, and (3) achieving higher product purity.
Specialty vs Commodity, “Platform” product approaches: Investigated and evaluated strategic options enabled by styrene derivative capabilities: market entry via specialty rather than commodity routes, “platform” product approach.
Performed additional primary and secondary research targeting commercialization of novel biosynthetic technologies:Derived financial models of peers (Amyris, Gevo, OPX Biotechnologies) from prospectuses, reports in local newspaper, and trade publications Utilized Federal Research lab reports, patents, and other sources to construct technological and economic comparisons of petrochemical versus bio-based (sugar cane, corn, lignocellulosic) feedstocks/routes to styreneUtilized ICIS data, trade reports, and process knowledge to model sensitivity analyses concerning the impact of various contingencies (shale gas, bio-based plastics, process advantages - styrene evolved as vapor) on XenoBio’s styrene business
Constructed 8 year business plan for new venture including detailed financial projections, R&D milestones, scale-up of manufacturing through bench/pilot/demo/commercial stages, and projection of progressive manpower requirementsDerived valuations of XenoBio via DCF and comparables at founding and at exit (8 years hence)
Successfully negotiated option on license for innovative biosynthetic technologies through Arizona State University’s tech. transfer arm.
Identified potential strategic partners among styrene producers, co-monomer producers, strain developers and alternate feedstock suppliers and initiated exploratory discussions (e.g., joint research grant proposals).
Led multi-round strategic alliance negotiation with major styrene producer. Designed and delivered Letter of Intent and articulated deal structure through all rounds (angel to exit) of financing.Evaluated proposed sponsored research agreement with same potential partner.
Designed & delivered hour-long PowerPoint presentations/funding solicitations to selected potential financiers.
Arranged coverage of XenoBio through Lux Research, an emerging technology research and advisory firm.