CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 24, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBLX), today announced the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (“SAB”) for Yield10 Bioscience, the crop science venture launched by Metabolix in 2015. The Company also announced that Danny Schnell, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University, and Michael Lassner, Ph.D., former vice president of trait discovery at Dupont Pioneer, have joined the SAB. Yield10 is developing proprietary, breakthrough technologies to create step change yield improvements in major food and feed crops.
“We have formed the Yield10 Bioscience Scientific Advisory Board as a way to engage thought leaders in plant science in our mission to enhance global food security,” said Joseph Shaulson, president and CEO of Metabolix. “As commercial and technology leaders in plant science, Dr. Schnell and Dr. Lassner bring valuable experience and expertise to our team, and will help shape a successful future for Yield10.”
“Early in 2015, we presented research results demonstrating significant increases in biomass yield in switchgrass, a model system for sugarcane and corn, and in late 2015 we presented data on significant increases in oil content and seed yield in Camelina. These developments are based on enhancing photosynthesis and carbon capture efficiency,” said Oliver Peoples, Ph.D., chief scientific officer. “We are excited to welcome new advisors to our team as we work in 2016 to transfer these technologies into canola, rice, soybean and corn. We have been working with Danny in a collaborative program for over three years and he has played a key role in the creation of the Yield10 technology platform.”
“My research team has collaborated with the Yield10 team at Metabolix most recently on research to identify novel genetic factors for enhancing photosynthesis and carbon capture efficiency to achieve step change increases in oilseed yield,” said Danny Schnell, Ph.D. Professor and Chair of the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University. “The results of this work to date have been very compelling, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Yield10 team as the research advances and they move these exciting technologies into key food crops.”
Background on Dr. Schnell and Dr. Lassner:
- Danny Schnell, Ph.D. - Currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University, Dr. Schnell’s recent research has focused on the function and regulation of protein import into chloroplasts. In addition, his laboratory team has expanded research efforts to address the critical need for crop improvement. During a collaborative project with Metabolix, Dr. Schnell and his team discovered the breakthrough seed yield gene trait C3003. Dr. Schnell was previously in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at UMass-Amherst where he was director of the Plant Biology Graduate Program and Head of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Schnell was also founder and co-director of The Institute for Massachusetts Biofuels Research. Dr. Schnell received a B.S. with honors in Life Sciences from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, Davis.
- Michael Lassner, Ph.D. – Dr. Lassner has more than 30 years of commercial research and development experience in agricultural biotechnology. From 2004 to 2014, Dr. Lassner held research leadership positions at Dupont Pioneer. As vice president of trait discovery, he led research efforts for discovery and early development of traits including insect control, herbicide tolerance, grain quality improvement, drought tolerance and yield improvement. Prior to that, Dr. Lassner was vice president of research at Maxygen and Verdia (its agriculture spinout) to exploit their DNA shuffling platform for crop improvement. Dr. Lassner began his career at Calgene, in research focused on developing traits to improve the quality of canola oil, and at Monsanto where he led a program to develop and apply genomic technologies to improve grain quality. Dr. Lassner received a B.S. in Plant Science and a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis.
According to the World Economic Forum, nearly 1 billion people go hungry every day and that problem is being exacerbated as the growing population demands more food. By 2050, that demand will nearly double today’s levels. Yield10 Bioscience utilizes innovations that Metabolix and its partners have developed over the last 10 years to address this global food security issue. Yield10 is leveraging the microbial diversity found in nature to increase carbon fixation and eliminate bottlenecks in plant carbon metabolism. It has also developed and demonstrated an advanced informatics platform for identifying plant gene targets to enhance yield and stress tolerance, which can be modulated in target food crops using GMO or genome editing approaches.
To access an overview of Yield10 Bioscience, please visit http://www.metabolix.com/Products/Yield10-Bioscience.
Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation-driven specialty materials company focused on delivering high-performance biopolymer solutions to customers in the plastics industry. Metabolix’s Mirel® biopolymers, which are derived from renewable resources, are a family of biobased performance additives and specialty resins based on PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates). Metabolix’s proprietary biotechnology platform enables the creation of specialty biopolymers for use in a broad range of applications such as construction and packaging materials, as well as industrial, consumer and personal care products.
For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com. (MBLX-G)
Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release which are not strictly historical statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding expectations for successfully deploying the Yield10 technology to achieve step changes in crop yield and transferring the technology to agriculturally significant crops, constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including the risks and uncertainties detailed in Metabolix's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Metabolix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.