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Biomanufacturing Materials Company Issues $500M IPO

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(A. Kotok)

22 Apr. 2021. Zymergen Inc., a developer of materials made with synthetic biology for industrial products is raising $500 million in its initial public stock offering. The eight year-old Emeryville, California company began trading today on the Nasdaq exchange under the ZY symbol.

Zymergen creates biological-based materials as feed stocks for manufacturing, electronics, agriculture, and consumer care products. The company says its process combines genomics, molecular biology, data science, and machine learning to design materials meeting industrial performance specifications. Zymergen says it maintains a library of biological molecules tied to genomics for creating new materials, then creates synthetic microbes with those genomic properties for expressing proteins with the desired chemistry.

The company says its microbial creation process is aided by machine learning algorithms that zero-in on genomic configurations for designing microbes, then ferments those microbes in bioreactors to express the needed proteins. Zymergen adds purification and refining steps for scaling up to industrial quantities, then arranges for partners to manufacture and distribute materials to customers.

The company’s lead product is Hyaline, a line of thin polymer films for electronic devices. Zymergen says Hyaline films can be adjusted to optimize transparency, endure high temperatures, and meet varying mechanical property requirements. The films are used in foldable electronic screens, touch sensor panels, and transparent printed electronics. Other bio-inspired materials in the pipeline are adhesives and coatings for electronics and metals. The company is also exploring biomaterials for manufacturing personal care products like insect repellent, as well as in agriculture, food, and packaging.

Zymergen issued 16,130,000 shares of its common stock at $31.00 a share, returning some $500 million. The company’s shares opened today at $31.00, then rose to more than $40.00 by early afternoon, before cruising to $37.54 at the closing bell, a gain of 21 percent from the IPO price. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.9 percent for the day.

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