Maxygen Inc. was a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing improved versions of protein drugs using DNA shuffling and other protein modification technologies. The company was headquartered in Redwood City, CA. It dissolved in 2013. Wikipedia.
Maxygen | Date: 2010-12-15
The invention provides methods employing iterative cycles of recombination and selection/screening for evolution of whole cells and organisms toward acquisition of desired properties. Examples of such properties include enhanced recombinogenicity, genome copy number, and capacity for expression and/or secretion of proteins and secondary metabolites.
Maxygen | Date: 2010-11-24
Methods of recombining nucleic acids, including homologous nucleic acids, are provided. Families of gene shuffling oligonucleotides and their use in recombination procedures, as well as polymerase and ligase mediated recombination methods are also provided.
Maxygen | Date: 2010-06-30
Methods are provided for the evolution of proteins of industrial and pharmaceutical interest, including methods for effecting recombination and selection. Compositions produced by these methods are also disclosed.
Maxygen | Date: 2011-01-26
The present invention generally relates to methods of rapidly and efficiently searching biologically-related data space. More specifically, the invention includes methods of identifying bio-molecules with desired properties, or which are most suitable for acquiring such properties, from complex bio-molecule libraries or sets of such libraries. The invention also provides methods of modeling sequence-activity relationships. As many of the methods are computer-implemented, the invention additionally provides digital systems and software for performing these methods.
News Article | December 29, 2009
When a startup files an S-1 form with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an initial public offering, it opens up info galore about the private company’s history, finances and strategy. We dug through the more than 230-page document filed yesterday by biocatalyst developer Codexis, and found tidbits on just how much the startup has had to pay the drug development company it spun out of seven years ago, how heavily it’s banking on oil giant Shell to commercialize biofuels, and what happened to the chief financial officer that the company once considered so valuable he was the only exec earning above market rate. Reliance on Shell: Codexis has a lot of chips riding on its work with Shell. If the startup succeeds in developing viable biocatalysts for biofuel production, it would rely on Shell (or other companies selected by the oil giant), “to design and build the commercial scale fuel production facilities and to distribute the final fuel product.” If the fuels take off, Codexis could reap big rewards: “If Shell commercializes our biofuels technology, we will collect a royalty for every gallon of fuel that Shell produces using our technology.” Time to first revenue: Founded in 2002 as a spin-out from drug developer Maxygen, Codexis focused on building its team and developing its technology for three years. The company saw its first revenue from product sales in 2005. Handful of customers: During 2008, just five customers accounted for 79 percent of Codexis’ total revenues. For the first nine months of this year, the startup’s top five customers accounted for an even larger portion of Codexis’ revenue: 90 percent. Shell alone accounted for 60 percent or revenue in 2008 and 75 percent of revenue in the first three quarters of 2009. Codexis emphasizes that it’s working in a variety of industries and markets (including the U.S., Singapore, India, Japan, Hungary and others), but it acknowledges that its dependence on a limited number of customers is risky: “The loss or reduction of business from one or a combination of our significant customers,” Codexis writes, could hurt the company’s revenue and financial condition. R&D, the fickle cash cow: Codexis says “a substantial portion” of its revenue so far has come from R&D agreements with collaborators like Shell, and it expects to continue that trend. Here’s how it works: Shell makes bi-monthly payments to Codexis based on the number of full time employee equivalents that work on the collaborative research (different rates are set for employees working in the U.S. and Hungary). If Shell decides to cut the number of people working on that project, Codexis’ cash stream will likely shrink. And starting in November 2010, Shell can pull the plug on the project “for any or no reason,” as long as it provides nine months notice. Milestone payments in the pipeline: Codexis says its agreement with Shell includes milestone payments of an undisclosed amount if it meets certain technical and commercial goals, starting in 2009. Exclusive agreement: When it comes to converting cellulosic biomass into sugars for biofuel production, Codexis has agreed to work exclusively with Shell until November 2012. But Shell can have other partners. “For example,” Codexis says, “Shell is currently working with Virent Energy Systems to develop a thermo-chemical approach to developing biogasoline.” Manufacturing build-out: Codexis needs to expand its production capacity, and it’s looking at two means of doing that: establish long-term supply contracts with contract manufacturers and invest in its own manufacturing facilities. How many people?: As of September 2009, the company had about 300 employees, up from just 40 employees at the end of 2002. Eye on oil prices: If and when Shell opts to commercialize biofuels with Codexis’ technology, the average price of oil in coming years will affect how much revenue Codexis gets from the product. As Codexis explains, its royalties under the agreement with Shell are indexed to the price of oil and will generally increase as the price of oil increases. But the index is based on average prices between November 2007 and the date of first commercial sale. History of losses: Codexis has seen major net losses for each of the last four years: $18.7 million in the calendar year 2006, $39.0 million in 2007 and $45.1 million in 2008. For the first nine months of 2009, Codexis reports a net loss of $15.1 million, and an accumulated deficit of $154.4 million. Payments to Maxygen: Codexis has had to make fat payments to Maxygen as part of its technology licensing deal. Codexis paid Maxygen $7.8 million in 2007, $1 million in 2008 and $4.2 million during the first three quarters of 2009. These are taken as a percentage of payments from Shell development project. Who owns what?: Maxygen owns about 21.6 percent of outstanding shares and Shell owns nearly 20 percent of outstanding shares. Biomedical Sciences Investment Fund, CMEA Ventures, CITV Investments and FirstMark Capital all own between about 6 and 12 percent of the shares. Key CEO: CEO and President Alan Shaw took a salary of $425,000 in the calendar year 2008, up nearly 10.5 percent from 2007. He earned a total of $950,000 including option awards and an approximately $150,00 bonus. Codexis says the loss of Shaw could prevent it from developing and commercializing its products for target markets and entering into collaborations or licensing arrangements. The competition: Competitor Novozymes also licenses technology from Maxygen, an agreement that may restrict Codexis’ use of the tech. What happened to the CFO?: Robert Breuil held the post of Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Codexis starting in early January 2006. But he turned in his resignation and ultimately left in June 2009. He had been the only executive officer earning a salary above the 50th percentile for the life sciences industry — a reflection, according to the prospectus, of “his significant individual contributions to our company during 2007 and the critical nature of his skills and expertise for our company at its stage of development in 2008.” (Breuil earned a total of $540,558 last year, including bonus and option awards.) The prospectus does not say why Breuil resigned, but his departure seems to have been on good terms: Codexis says Breuil “agreed to be available to consult with us on a paid and as-needed basis for three months following his termination of employment, and has continued to consult for us beyond that three-month period.” Robert Lawson, a former Intuit executive, joined Codexis as CEO last month. Reality check on cellulosic biofuels: “As of the date of this prospectus, we believe that there are no commercial scale cellulosic biofuel production plants in operation,” Codexis writes. “There can be no assurance that anyone will be able or willing to develop and operate biofuel production plants at commercial scale or that any biofuel facilities can be profitable.” Among the remaining hurdles for the industry is an infrastructure buildout. According to Codexis, additional rail capacity, storage facilities, truck fleets for transporting ethanol, refining and blending facilities, and vehicles capable of running on ethanol blends are needed in order for the ethanol market to grow. What’s next?: Codexis says it is “actively pursuing opportunities in other bioindustrial markets” beyond biofuels and pharmaceuticals, “including through self-funded research in carbon management and the pursuit of funded collaborations in carbon management, water treatment and chemicals.”
News Article | October 3, 2011
Antti Ylimutka has just returned to his home in Helsinki after a trip to the far-flung reaches of Siberia. In particular, he was visiting the city of Novosibirsk. Nestled on the unforgiving plains of central Russia, and closer to Mongolia than Moscow, he admits it’s not exactly a stop on the tourist trail, even if it is Russia’s third largest city and about the same size as Philadelphia or Vienna. “Let’s just say at 2 a.m., when it’s cold and dark, you really feel like you are in Siberia,” he says. “Novosibirsk was voted the world’s ugliest city five times in a row.” The visit wasn’t meant to be part of a commentary on the city’s architecture, however. It was about trying to find startups. Ylimutka acts as the “wingman” for Startup Sauna, a Northern European accelerator program that is starting to extend its reach deep into Russian territory as a way of unearthing talent. And even though Novosibirsk isn’t officially in Europe at all, Startup Sauna sees cities like it as a crucial breeding ground for future generations of world-changing startups. That’s why the organization recently toured around the country, including not just the top-tier cities but also places like Novosibirsk, and the more central cities of Yekaterinburg and Kazan. Searching for great companies was interesting, although not exactly easy. “Finns have so many prejudices about Russia,” laments Ylimutka, “But St. Petersburg is like the Venice of Northern Europe. And Moscow’s such a big city. It is a really distant culture, but on a people level, they are really similar… they want to create awesome startups with awesome products too.” Startup Sauna’s blog has detailed a few of the companies that were invited to join the program, including Osklad (warehouse inventory software for business) and AppScale, which allows apps to tap into social network APIs more easily. But a lot of the action came from companies from traditions outside software and the web. That included high-tech healthcare companies such as Maxygen, a vaunted Moscow startup focused on low-cost, rapid DNA testing; and Celoform, a sort of next generation bandage hailing from Yekaterinburg. Then there was St. Petersburg’s RosTechnoExport, which makes small autonomous helicopters that can be used by the oil industry. “The more you move away from Moscow and St. Petersburg, the more technical it gets,” says Ylimutka. “The high-tech stuff is what really makes Russia interesting. Part of it is probably because there is more of a military influence in these parts of Russia.” Still, it wasn’t a parade of business ideas that span out of military technologies. Most of the companies Startup Sauna met were clones or versions of other services. “It’s really difficult getting out of the Russian-centric mindset, and it’s still mostly me-too products. The West has Facebook; Russia has Vkontakte, for example.” In reality, it’s easy to think that this market is big enough or important enough, even if that’s a mistake. After all, the region that Startup Sauna covers — Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia — have almost 200 million people between them, though admittedly Russia and Poland count for the vast majority of that. Culturally, they are distinct and often suspicious of each other (not surprising given the history of the Soviet Union) but they also have a lot in common. In the end, Ylimutka says, having broader ambitions is about fostering an entrepreneurial culture that looks beyond borders. “In our region,” he says, “Since we’re lagging behind in business skills, it is really important to help build them.” Photograph used under Creative Commons license courtesy of Flickr user mksystem
News Article | October 22, 2008
In a move to preserve cash, Maxygen said Wednesday it plans to cut its staff by 30 percent in the first quarter next year, a move that will leave it with some 65 employees when it is completed. The Redwood City biotechnology company said it will stage staggered terminations during the quarter beginning in January in both its operational and general-and-administrative departments. The company said it would provide “outplacement support and a severance package for each affected employee.” Maxygen has also “retained the investment bank Lazard to assist in exploring strategic options, including a sale or disposition of one or more corporate assets, a strategic business combination, or other transactions.” The company says it is scaling back its spending on its MAXY-G34 drug candidate, intended to treat chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, one of the most common side effects caused by chemotherapy that can quickly develop into a life-threatening situation. Maxygen said it will postpone Phase III manufacturing for the drug “until it identifies a partner who can share manufacturing costs.”
News Article | December 18, 2011
News Article | April 22, 2010
Codexis, a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of biocatalysts for drug and biofuel production, launched its initial public offering this morning — debuting on the Nasdaq under the symbol “CDXS.” Codexis proposed in March to offer 6 million shares in the range of $13-$15 apiece. But Codexis set the final pricing for its IPO on the low end Thursday — at just $13 per share for a raise of $78 million. Codexis represents just one of a whopping 19 companies in greentech (or that at least carry a “green banner,” as investor Vinod Khosla put it recently) that have announced plans to go public since September. We’ll be watching it to see if it ends up being a weak greentech IPOs that could sour the market. Founded in 2002 as a spin-out from drug developer Maxygen (which now owns an approximately 21.3 percent stake), Codexis counts oil giants Shell, Chevron, Pfizer and CMEA Capital among its backers. The company’s technology involves taking a natural microbe or enzyme and tweaking the DNA sequences to create new variants. Codexis then searches for the variants best suited to development of new, potentially cheaper drugs (Pfizer used Codexis enzymes to produce Lipitor), fuel from cellulosic biomass, chemicals and systems for water treatment and carbon management. Codexis originally filed with financial regulators to go public back in April 2008, but withdrew the filing by fall of that year “due to current public market conditions.” According to the prospectus that Codexis filed in December 2009, the company plans to use the proceeds from its IPO to help fund working capital and other general corporate purposes, and possibly also acquisitions of other businesses, products or technologies. Codexis says it may use a portion of the funds to boost its production capacity for internal biocatalysts. While Codexis says it’s working to expand into new markets, its “primary development efforts” at this point are “focused on producing biocatalysts that can enable Shell to become a global leader in the advanced biofuels market,” according to Codexis’ filing with the SEC today. If the startup succeeds in developing viable biocatalysts for biofuel production, Codexis plans to rely on Shell (or other companies selected by the oil giant), “to design and build the commercial scale fuel production facilities and to distribute the final fuel product.” So far, much of Codexis’ revenue has come from R&D agreements with a small group of customers. In the 2009 calendar year, the startup’s top five customers accounted for 90 percent of its total revenue, with Shell alone making up 76 percent of the total.