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Kevin Quon  

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  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    Thank you. Also, interesting link there.
    Dec 24, 2013. 11:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    Apologies. It must've been someone else. As for the practices of the company, that's really their decision in terms of how they think to best control the data being released. In terms of what I've been seeing around industrial biotech space, SZYM doesn't appear to stand out in terms of not being as forthcoming as you might wish. Most companies keep that data close to the chest. Just my two cents. What kind of data are you looking for anyways in regards to those tests? At least to the 500k liter level they've already stated that they've scaled.
    Dec 23, 2013. 11:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    mrduss,

    As SS has already referred to, the company isn't bound to a low-margin industry that will prevent its successful commercial entry. Considering the amount of sugar needed to produce a single metric ton of oil (3:1), sugar costs are not likely to be problematic for the foreseeable future. A few additional factors already apply:
    1) Both partners are already supplying feedstock, believed to be below market prices.
    2) several clients have already signed agreements that pin the market selling prices of szym's oils to the volatility of feedstock costs.
    3) market prices of sugar/corn are tracking down & are expected to be held low for some time (and if ethanol is reduced in the country, corn in particular will fall further)
    4) szym is diversified between 2 feedstocks w/ the opportunity for more in the near future.
    5) cellulosics are becoming a reality that serves as a promising opporutnity for szym in the medium-to-long term.


    AS for the perfection of the battery for an electric car, that would be nice to have! It has absolutely no bearing as to the future of this company. The markets are much too large for that to have any bearing. Additionally, there are several industries that are entirely dependent on non-electric sources of energy (ie. aircraft which require much more thrust than electricity can provide and which can not be jeapordized for safety sake). In any case, as long as petroleum sources continue to degrade in quality (ty, shale revolution), there will be a need for blending oils needing to be uplifted in quality. (ie. blending szym oil w/ heavy sour crude so that it can be processed in a less outfitted refinery)

    -Kevin
    Dec 23, 2013. 11:14 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    Pretty sure I answered your q last time you asked this (or maybe it was someone else). I have no ties with the company apart from being long as stated. I like the tech, have followed for several years, and continued researching - learning much along the way. Been to the sf office complex/lab/pilot plant once, hope to do so again soon. Take the time I've put into it and im sure u can do the same and come up with similar conclusions.
    Dec 23, 2013. 06:23 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    Just make sure you have another farm to spare. Not too many sure things in life even if all the signs would say otherwise.
    Dec 23, 2013. 04:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    And yes. Szym can run on all basically all of the simple sugars. The outputs vary though and further research will improve this over time. For now there is a focus on getting the process going. Btw the lead strains appear to work better with an introduction of glycerol if I read correctly in a study elsewhere.
    Dec 23, 2013. 11:13 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    Wise timmy,

    There are many peers in this industry although none truly serve as a direct competitor perse. Of the public companies, Amyris serves as the most direct "competition" given its ability to produce multiple materials.....an advantage it is very ill equipped to pursue within a meaningful timeframe. Even then its ability to improve upon replacement products is questionable. Money and ramping timeframes crosses them off my list for now in either case.

    At this point there really isnt any competition as most of these 2nd or 3rd generation companies are competing in a very large and virgin market. They are peers more so then competitors.

    Im more intersted in several private companies such as genomatica or kiverdi or heliae or lanzatech... but each have faults of their own even still. Genomatica sounds more like a one trick pony imo, kiverdi is a baby in the industry, heliaes ability to meaningfully scale is still yet to be seen imo, and lanzatechs model might not even work out imo.

    Anywyas all of these are just some names to throw out. To be fair everyone of these companies are very unique and operate using very distinct techs. Szym is pretty much alone in this field when it comes to mastering control over renewable oil. (Apart from the inefficient & lumbering seed cos like monsanto and dupont and dow etc.)

    Kevin
    Dec 23, 2013. 11:07 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]
    Doewap,

    Thank you for reading. I am not driven to write about this company on the basis of news as much as I am intrigued by their capacity for disruptive change. While I'm often noted for my emphasis on this company in contrast to others, I believe that my greater focus on their workings have allowed me to better express the situation to those trying to follow along. To be short, I write to further detail particular aspects while still attempting to portray the situation to those unaware of the company altogether.

    After all, having come to this point in my own research, I know how difficult it is to understand what this technology is all about. Apart from a more in-depth perspective, there are too many errant associations that would otherwise muddle the view of investors who first hear about this company and understand it through their preconceived biases about it. "algae" "sugar" "biofuels" - all loaded terms. However, if you reflect back on my prior articles, I always attempt to focus on at least one particular trait that catches my eye.

    For this article in particular, I wanted to place some emphasis on the rather intriguing lysing technique. This appears to be a rather unique method in the present that Solazyme is able to use because of their dual ability to insert genetic code & simultaneously control the phases of production (ie. stimulate growth & change the conditions to grow oil & change the conditions to tear open the cell walls). The intricacies of this control are quite impressive, and very difficult to find outside (if even possible) outside of fermentation applications.

    Try not to be put back if you feel like you've read aspects of what I write about before. Some of this is so that I can get the article approved due to my editors. Another part of it is to help keep informed those who are just first hearing about this company. Best wishes.

    Merry Christmas & God Bless,
    Kevin
    Dec 23, 2013. 08:50 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Opko Health: Standing Bullish Following Q&A With Dr. Phillip Frost [View article]
    Anthony,

    Even after reading your report, I'm still looking for the meat as to why Barry Honig is a threat to OPKO shareholders? Most of the accusations appear to revolve around "complaints" and "accusations" and lawsuits that have either not been resolved or never will be resolved. As for the long list of companies themselves, there is nothing wrong with speculation. What relevance does this have for OPKO investors apart from a negative connotation suggested by your report?

    Where's the beef?
    Dec 16, 2013. 10:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Now The Time To Buy DryShips? [View article]
    Last I checked, I've been writing about DRYS longer than you have. I have not read your 3 articles. Wish you the best giovanni. Theres only so much pertinent information to go around. Welcome to SA
    Dec 9, 2013. 09:40 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking A Look At Solazyme's New Oil Profile [View article]
    one more addition:

    "WO2008/151149, WO2010/06032, WO2011/150410, and WO2011/1504 disclose heterotrophic cultivation and oil isolation techniques."
    Dec 6, 2013. 11:27 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking A Look At Solazyme's New Oil Profile [View article]
    Innov8r, I can't keep going back & forth to address all your skepticism. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming. I encourage you to actually glance through the patents in light of the amount of information there. But hopefully, this can assist in your ongoing pursuits:

    If you read the Bunge/SZYM JV framework (http://1.usa.gov/1gK7Q8f) it explicitly states 300,000 MT of fermentable sugar = plant capacity. Additionally, the S-1 file notes 8 million MT of cane = 400,000+ MT oil per pg 45. (cane to sugar = 10-15% yield). Suggests it takes either 2 or 3 MT of sugar to make 1 MT of szym oil. Same S-1 shows that 290 gallons = 1MT on pg 7. So conservatively; 3:1 ratio.

    -------------------------
    As for the patents, here's an area of interest to you as it shows multiple methods of extraction beyond your the mere use of solvents:

    "In particular embodiments, the microorganism is lysed after growth, for example to increase the exposure of cellular lipid and/or hydrocarbon for extraction or further processing. The timing of lipase expression (e.g., via an inducible promoter) or cell lysis can be adjusted to optimize the yield of lipids and/or hydrocarbons. Below are described a number of lysis techniques. These techniques can be used individually or in combination.

    In one embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism comprises heating of a cellular suspension containing the microorganism. In this embodiment, the fermentation broth containing the microorganisms (or a suspension of microorganisms isolated from the fermentation broth) is heated until the microorganisms, i.e., the cell walls and membranes of microorganisms degrade or breakdown. Typically, temperatures applied are at least 50.degree. C. Higher temperatures, such as, at least 30.degree. C. at least 60.degree. C., at least 70.degree. C., at least 80.degree. C., at least 90.degree. C., at least 100.degree. C., at least 110.degree. C., at least 120.degree. C., at least 130.degree. C. or higher are used for more efficient cell lysis. Lysing cells by heat treatment can be performed by boiling the microorganism. Alternatively, heat treatment (without boiling) can be performed in an autoclave. The heat treated lysate may be cooled for further treatment. Cell disruption can also be performed by steam treatment, i.e., through addition of pressurized steam. Steam treatment of microalgae for cell disruption is described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,750,048. In some embodiments, steam treatment may be achieved by sparging steam into the fermentor and maintaining the broth at a desired temperature for less than about 90 minutes, preferably less than about 60 minutes, and more preferably less than about 30 minutes.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism comprises adding a base to a cellular suspension containing the microorganism. The base should be strong enough to hydrolyze at least a portion of the proteinaceous compounds of the microorganisms used. Bases which are useful for solubilizing proteins are known in the art of chemistry. Exemplary bases which are useful in the methods of the present invention include, but are not limited to, hydroxides, carbonates and bicarbonates of lithium, sodium, potassium, calcium, and mixtures thereof. A preferred base is KOH. Base treatment of microalgae for cell disruption is described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,750,048.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism comprises adding an acid to a cellular suspension containing the microorganism. Acid lysis can be effected using an acid at a concentration of 10-500 mN or preferably 40-160 nM. Acid lysis is preferably performed at above room temperature (e.g., at 40-160.degree., and preferably a temperature of 50-130.degree.. For moderate temperatures (e.g., room temperature to 100.degree. C. and particularly room temperature to 65.degree., acid treatment can usefully be combined with sonication or other cell disruption methods.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism comprises lysing the microorganism by using an enzyme. Preferred enzymes for lysing a microorganism are proteases and polysaccharide-degrading enzymes such as hemicellulase (e.g., hemicellulase from Aspergillus niger; Sigma Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.; #H2125), pectinase (e.g., pectinase from Rhizopus sp.; Sigma Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.; #P2401), Mannaway 4.0 L (Novozymes), cellulase (e.g., cellulose from Trichoderma viride; Sigma Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.; #C9422), and driselase (e.g., driselase from Basidiomycetes sp.; Sigma Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.; #D9515.

    In other embodiments of the present invention, lysis is accomplished using an enzyme such as, for example, a cellulase such as a polysaccharide-degrading enzyme, optionally from Chlorella or a Chlorella virus, or a proteases, such as Streptomyces griseus protease, chymotrypsin, proteinase K, proteases listed in Degradation of Polylactide by Commercial Proteases, Oda Y et al., Journal of Polymers and the Environment, Volume 8, Number 1, January 2000, pp. 29-32(4), Alcalase 2.4 FG (Novozymes), and Flavourzyme 100 L (Novozymes). Any combination of a protease and a polysaccharide-degrading enzyme can also be used, including any combination of the preceding proteases and polysaccharide-degrading enzymes.

    In another embodiment, lysis can be performed using an expeller press. In this process, biomass is forced through a screw-type device at high pressure, lysing the cells and causing the intracellular lipid to be released and separated from the protein and fiber (and other components) in the cell.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism is performed by using ultrasound, i.e., sonication. Thus, cells can also by lysed with high frequency sound. The sound can be produced electronically and transported through a metallic tip to an appropriately concentrated cellular suspension. This sonication (or ultrasonication) disrupts cellular integrity based on the creation of cavities in cell suspension.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism is performed by mechanical lysis. Cells can be lysed mechanically and optionally homogenized to facilitate hydrocarbon (e.g., lipid) collection. For example, a pressure disrupter can be used to pump a cell containing slurry through a restricted orifice valve. High pressure (up to 1500 bar) is applied, followed by an instant expansion through an exiting nozzle. Cell disruption is accomplished by three different mechanisms: impingement on the valve, high liquid shear in the orifice, and sudden pressure drop upon discharge, causing an explosion of the cell. The method releases intracellular molecules. Alternatively, a ball mill can be used. In a ball mill, cells are agitated in suspension with small abrasive particles, such as beads. Cells break because of shear forces, grinding between beads, and collisions with beads. The beads disrupt the cells to release cellular contents. Cells can also be disrupted by shear forces, such as with the use of blending (such as with a high speed or Waring blender as examples), the french press, or even centrifugation in case of weak cell walls, to disrupt cells.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism is performed by applying an osmotic shock.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism comprises infection of the microorganism with a lytic virus. A wide variety of viruses are known to lyse microorganisms suitable for use in the present invention, and the selection and use of a particular lytic virus for a particular microorganism is within the level of skill in the art. For example, paramecium bursaria chlorella virus (PBCV-1) is the prototype of a group (family Phycodnaviridae, genus Chlorovirus) of large, icosahedral, plaque-forming, double-stranded DNA viruses that replicate in, and lyse, certain unicellular, eukaryotic chlorella-like green algae. Accordingly, any susceptible microalgae can be lysed by infecting the culture with a suitable chlorella virus. Methods of infecting species of Chlorella with a chlorella virus are known. See for example Adv. Virus Res. 2006; 66:293-336; Virology, 1999 Apr. 25; 257(1):15-23; Virology, 2004 Jan. 5; 318(1):214-23; Nucleic Acids Symp. Ser. 2000; (44):161-2; J. Virol. 2006 March; 80(5):2437-44; and Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 1999; 53:447-94.

    In another embodiment of the present invention, the step of lysing a microorganism comprises autolysis. In this embodiment, a microorganism according to the invention is genetically engineered to produce a lytic protein that will lyse the microorganism. This lytic gene can be expressed using an inducible promoter so that the cells can first be grown to a desirable density in a fermentor, followed by induction of the promoter to express the lytic gene to lyse the cells. In one embodiment, the lytic gene encodes a polysaccharide-degrading enzyme. In certain other embodiments, the lytic gene is a gene from a lytic virus. Thus, for example, a lytic gene from a Chlorella virus can be expressed in an algal cell; see Virology 260, 308-315 (1999); FEMS Microbiology Letters 180 (1999) 45-53; Virology 263, 376-387 (1999); and Virology 230, 361-368 (1997). Expression of lytic genes is preferably done using an inducible promoter, such as a promoter active in microalgae that is induced by a stimulus such as the presence of a small molecule, light, heat, and other stimuli. "

    ----------------

    Last of all, if you remain skeptical, that is entirely a valid position to take. Loose similarities to Martek's process aside, there are vast differences in technologies & business models that prevent a side-by-side comparison. But skepticism is good, and hopefully keeps you motivated to keep on digging deeper. There is indeed an element called risk, and one that investors must take. Offhand, there is information that is freely available, and while it remains an important position of the company to keep information close to the chest (therefore, no shouting about costs, materials & processes), there is a good deal of information that suggests the company is doing just fine. Forgive me if i can't assist you further as this information-seeking is quite taxing. Thanks for reading.

    Kevin
    Dec 6, 2013. 11:01 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking A Look At Solazyme's New Oil Profile [View article]
    RWRATTI,

    Just a thought to ease your mind. I'll leave it to you to connect the dots: http://bit.ly/1iEOGFf

    Kevin
    Dec 5, 2013. 09:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking A Look At Solazyme's New Oil Profile [View article]
    Why anyone would build that aquarium, however, is another question altogether... :)
    Dec 4, 2013. 11:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Taking A Look At Solazyme's New Oil Profile [View article]
    While I understand your reservation, I find the conclusion that viable economics are out of reach to be out of proportion. Marteks non optimized algae yields a fraction of szyms strains. Their products do not further uplift the value by emphasizing particular traits. The fact that martek itself became economically viable should be a testament to szyms outlook.

    The $350/gallon ASP figure is out of hand as a comparison even if martek actually did sell at that level. 290 gallons of szym oil requires 6600 lb of sugars (what state is unknown). Even at open market prices +transportation costs to a port, raw sugar only costs $1122 to create 1 mt of szym oil. Thats only $3.86 per gallon.....even before accounting for an on site source of discounted sugars. With lysis techniques varying from osmotic shock, viruses, solvents, etc. per the patents... I think your concerns are a bit unfounded as these arent too expensuve in themselves. 1000/mt? Maybe. Economically viable? No doubt about it imo.

    By the way, how large were marteks tanks? They sound smaller than peoria.
    Dec 4, 2013. 01:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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