Amyris Files for Bankruptcy|Sell Consumer Brands and Concentrate on Ingredients

On August 9, synthetic biotechnology company Amyris, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The California-based company Emeryville said the decision was made strategically to facilitate its business and financial restructuring, and that it plans to sell its consumer brands. The company’s 2023 first-quarter sales were $56.1 million, down 3% from the previous year.

Amyris, Inc. has been known for its innovative approach to combining biotechnology and sustainability to create new advancements in the chemical industry. Founded in 2003 by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the company is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most pioneering industry leaders in the field of synthetic biotechnology.

According to the press release, the company intends to streamline its business portfolio and focus on its core competencies in R&D, scale-up, commercialization, and application development of sustainable ingredients obtained through bio-fermentation. As such, the company plans to exit its consumer brands and will begin marketing them for sale.

To support day-to-day operations until the sale of the brands, Amyris received $190 million in debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing from its existing lender, an affiliate of Follis Ventures. In a statement, the company also said that it will continue to operate its brands through retail partners and each brand’s e-commerce platform.

Amyris, which reported early last week that it was closing its Costa Brazil fragrance and skincare brand, has had signs of financial difficulties for some time. Onda Beauty, its retail arm, announced on Instagram that it has parted ways with Amyris. Onda’s Tribeca and Canoe Place stores remain open, but the Sag Harbor store has already closed. will also operate for a limited time.

In June 2022, Amyris announced the resignation of President and CEO Jon Melo and members of its Board of Directors, as well as a global workforce reduction as part of its cost reduction goals. In last February of the same year, the company sold most of its cosmetic ingredients to Givaudan. The two companies signed a long-term partnership agreement under which Amyris will continue to manufacture Givaudan’s cosmetic ingredients and Givaudan will be the commercialization partner for future sustainable beauty ingredients.

To ensure a smooth transition into Chapter 11, the company filed a series of customary motions with the court asking that it continue business as usual and, in the process, honor its commitments to its employees and other valued stakeholders. These first-day motions include a request to continue paying wages and benefits to employees as usual and to maintain customer programs and policies.

Han Kieftenbeld, interim chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Amyris said the company has been working on a “strategic transformation plan to reduce costs, improve operational effectiveness, and achieve sustainable growth.” The sale of the consumer products company “puts us on the best path to address our financial challenges and achieve a comprehensive solution – rooted in Amyris’ ground-breaking science, formulation capabilities, and technology,” he added.

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