Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2010

Amyris Biotechnologies: Commercializing Biofuel

by Gary P. Pisano and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld

Abstract

In 2009, Amyris Biotechnologies was building a plant in Brazil that used synthetic biology to convert sugarcane into both renewable fuels and renewable chemicals. The Amyris' marketing team was investigating the commercial interest for both types of products, while the research and development team and the operations group were building processes that could accommodate both as well. CEO John Melo hoped to have commercial product available in 2011; however, he realized that pursuing both chemicals and fuels added even more complexity to a business that was already executing multiple development steps in parallel. The case looks at the various strategic and operational decisions facing Melo as he planned the company's optimal commercialization strategy.

Keywords: Renewable Energy; Chemicals; Risk Management; Product Marketing; Product Development; Production; Environmental Sustainability; Commercialization; Biotechnology Industry; Brazil;

Citation:

Pisano, Gary P., and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld. "Amyris Biotechnologies: Commercializing Biofuel." Harvard Business School Case 610-031, February 2010.