ZuvaChem is developing biocatalysts and a biochemical process for the commercial production of polymer grade isoprene. Isoprene is primarily used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber through polymerization into cis-1,4-polyisoprene, chemically identical and functionally equivalent to natural rubber, a strategic resource in short supply. Isoprene is currently made from a five carbon side stream from the cracking and refining of petroleum. Isoprene is also biologically synthesized in nature by certain plants in response to transient thermal stress. This natural biochemical pathway can be exploited by ZuvaChem through a range of industrial microbes using a combination of genetic engineering and chemical engineering technologies to produce isoprene.
ZuvaChem’s technology, for which the company has obtained feasibility data and filed patent applications, will enable renewable production of pure isoprene at a price competitive with, or lower than, petrochemically derived isoprene. ZuvaChem’s technology therefore has the potential of capturing a significant portion of the large and growing markets (>$20 billion in total) for rubber and isoprene.
Since its founding in November 2008, ZuvaChem has advanced these developments through a series of research contracts and sponsored research agreements while operated as a virtual company. ZuvaChem is an Acidophil LLC company.