Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Partnerships and Technology Transfer

Success Stories

DNP Green Technology, Inc. Exclusively Licenses Patents Invented at Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory

On March 9, 2010, UT-Battelle, LLC, UChicago Argonne, LLC, and DNP Green Technology, INC fully executed an exclusive license agreement for patents invented solely by Argonne National Laboratory and  jointly by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).  The patents were invented by Nhuan Phu Nghiem (ORNL), Mark Donnelly (ANL), Cynthia Millard (ANL), and Lucy Stols (ANL).  The patent portfolio includes 3 US issued patents and numerous foreign patents/patent applications.  A) US#5,869,301 "Method for the production of dicarboxylic acids" B) US#6,743,610 Method to produce succinic acid from raw hydrolysates" C) US#RE37,393 "Mutant E.coli Strain with increased succinic acid production"

DNP Green Technology (www.dnpgreen.com) is a private US  renewable chemistry company registered in the state of Delaware. Their core business is the production of renewable succinic acid using agricultural feedstocks. They are also developing processes and know-how to convert succinic acid into value added products such as deicing solutions, biodegradable plastics, monomers for polymer chemistry and eco-friendly solvents and plasticizers.

DNP Green combines biotechnology and catalyst chemistry to produce renewable chemicals that can compete on price with petrochemicals. Our focus is to produce building blocks by fermenting agriculturally derived sugars, and to then use chemical catalysis to transform these building blocks into value added, green chemicals.

At the core of our succinic acid platform is an organism that was developed by the US Department of Energy in the late 1990’s, as part of the Alternative Feedstocks Program. This organism has proven to be robust and capable of producing high yields of succinic acid when fermented anaerobically (in the presence of carbon dioxide, as opposed to oxygen).

DNP Green Technology was established in December 2008, when all succinic acid assets, including all intellectual property, contracts, joint venture interest and employees, were spun off from Diversified Natural Products. Following the spin off, the company’s shares were distributed to Diversified Natural Product’s shareholders, making DNP Green Technology a standalone legal entity with no ties to Diversified Natural Products.

In the fall of 2009, DNP Green Technology completed a $12 million financing with a new group of institutional investors led by Sofinnova Partners, a leading European venture capital firm, and including Mitsui & Co. Venture Partners, the venture arm of the Japanese trading powerhouse Mitsui & Co, and Samsung Ventures, the venture arm of the Samsung Group, one of Asia’s largest industrial groups. Other investors were the Cliffton Group, a Canadian based real estate group with interests in clean tech, and AquaRIMCO, a Japanese investment fund that was an existing shareholder.

Since the spin off, DNP Green Technology has established several business partnerships and has successfully commissioned an industrial scale production facility. It has also moved down the value chain through its acquisition of Sinoven Biopolymers, which has an innovative biodegradable polymer. Today, DNP Green is one of only a few biobased chemicals companies that have reached the commercial stage.

The origins of the DNP Green’s succinic acid business go back to 1995, when they were established in a company called Applied CarboChemicals. The company operated under this name until 2003, when it was restructured, refinanced and renamed Diversified Natural Products. The company subsequently expanded its activities into other fields; succinic acid became one of three businesses, alongside exotic mushroom cultivation in Ludington, Michigan and natural health products in Montreal, Canada. In 2006, Diversified Natural Products established a collaborative R&D effort with Agroindustries-Recherches et Developpements (ARD), the R&D subsidiary of a French agricultural consortium led by Champagne Cereales. Over the next two years the partners scaled up succinic acid production to 80,000 liters and developed an economical, aqueous based isolation and purification process. A joint venture called Bioamber was established in 2008, dedicated to succinic acid production. Diversified Natural Products contributed its intellectual property portfolio and ARD agreed to build an industrial scale production facility in France, at a cost of €21 million (approximately $27 million).