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ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics Renew Biofuels Research Collaboration

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Synthetic Genomics today announced it has extended its joint research agreement with ExxonMobil focused on algae biofuels.

The partners have been collaborating on a project to develop algae as a source of oil, researching algae genetics, growth characteristics, and oil production since 2009. The firms said they will continue to work on developing algae strains with improved photosynthetic efficiency and oil production through selection and genetic engineering.

“Together with ExxonMobil, we have made significant strides to identify and enhance algal strains capable of high oil production while still maintaining desirable rates of growth,” Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer, said in a statement. “The extension of our agreement reflects the tremendous progress made to date, and the promise in using our core synthetic biology technologies to build cell production systems capable of reshaping industries.”

In 2013, Synthetic Genomics and ExxonMobil announced a new agreement, focusing more on basic scientific research.

Vijay Swarup, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company VP for research and development, said the renewal was partly in recognition of milestones reached in the collaboration.

Financial and other details of the agreement were not disclosed.