Plant-based synthetic biology company Calyxt recently announced it has successfully completed the first phase in its research collaboration agreement with a global food ingredient manufacturer based in Asia, with the aim of developing an improved soybean capable of producing oil as a commercial alternative to palm oil.
Palm oil extracted from oil palm trees is used in a range of applications including as a substitute for animal fats – butter in baked goods – soaps, confectionery, cosmetics and more. It is the main export of Indonesia and Malaysia but because of the deforestation carried out to produce palm oil, the environmental impact of it is considerable, as forest is cleared to make it and greenhouse gas emissions rise when oil palms are planted on peaty soil.
“We are proud of the progress we’ve made in this collaboration,” explained Michael A. Carr, President and CEO of Calyxt. “The achievement builds on our expertise working with soybeans along with our team’s innovation and collective drive to engineer plant-based solutions that address sustainability challenges for our customers.”
Calyxt’s ability to leverage its proprietary PlantSpring technology platform comes at a “critical time”, the company says, as the sustainability and environmental impact of traditional palm oil sourcing and production have come into question.
The completion of this first milestone results in a cash milestone payment to Calyxt. The company has begun the second and final phase of the research collaboration and expects to receive a final milestone payment upon completion. It anticipates completing the final phase in the first quarter of 2024.
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