EWING, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance to Proterro, Inc., for a composition of matter patent that protects unique engineered photosynthetic cyanobacteria and their genetic code. The genetically engineered cyanobacteria are used in a biosynthetic process to manufacture sucrose.
“They are why we can say that we are the only company that ‘makes’ sugar – others must ‘extract’ it from crops, which has proven to be a far more expensive proposition.”
The issued patent (based on U.S. Patent Application No. 12/348,887) will cover “the sequence and assembly of discrete genes of engineered cyanobacteria and the cyanobacteria themselves, which we use to make affordable sugar for the economical and scalable production of biofuels and biobased chemicals,” said Proterro CEO Kef Kasdin.
“A patent protecting the genetic blueprint of our sucrose-producing microorganisms is the cornerstone of Proterro’s patent portfolio, representing what makes us different from all others searching for the answer to the high cost of feedstock,” she continued.
“These engineered cyanobacteria, which require a combination of only water, carbon dioxide, sunlight and nutrients to produce sucrose in a biosynthetic process at consistently high yields, are unique to us,” she said. “They are why we can say that we are the only company that ‘makes’ sugar – others must ‘extract’ it from crops, which has proven to be a far more expensive proposition.”
“This gives us a solid technical foundation with respect to intellectual property,” added John Aikens, Proterro CTO and a co-inventor with Robert Turner, Ph.D., on the patent application. Aikens noted that, in addition to this newly allowed patent, Proterro has five more U.S. patent applications and multiple foreign patent applications pending.
“Taking cyanobacteria that naturally produce sucrose and successfully genetically engineering them so that they produce and secrete elevated levels of sucrose in a continuous, high-yield process, is our market differentiator, and, as we move our business forward, protecting our groundbreaking technology is essential,” said Kasdin.
In other Proterro news today, see:
Proterro Secures $3.5 Million in New Funding
Proterro is the only company that makes sucrose instead of extracting it from crops. Proterro combines its core “microorganism technology” with its patent-pending, high-density, modular, solid-phase photobioreactor for scalable production of the only non-crop-based, noncellulosic, clean sucrose that avoids the pricing volatility associated with corn and other feedstock markets. The company projects it can produce its sucrose at a cost of less than $.05/lb., which is far less than sugarcane, corn, other energy crops, or cellulosic sugar approaches. The company was recognized as one of the top 10 innovative companies during Q4 2011 by Lux Research, which said the company stood out for its “disruptive potential.” Proterro CEO Kasdin has been named one of the top 100 people in bioenergy and one of the top 10 influential women in the biofuel business. Proterro’s leadership team includes advisors with extensive experience from BP, Cargill, Gevo and Solazyme. For more information, please visit www.proterro.com . For more about the specific claims allowed in U.S. Patent Application No. 12/348,887, please visit notice of allowance excerpts.
Note: Proterro is a trademark of Proterro, Inc. Any other names of actual companies, organizations, entities, products or services may be the trademarks of their respective owners.