SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - June 12, 2012) - SG Biofuels, Inc. (SGB), an energy crop company delivering high performance bioenergy solutions for the renewable fuel, biomass and chemical markets, has opened an expanded corporate headquarters and genomics research center in San Diego, California.
Now totaling nearly 60,000 square feet in laboratory, greenhouse and office space, the facilities support the company's commercial advancements, including ramping seed production and the deployment of additional JMax Knowledge Centers™ in Brazil and India, where the company is advancing hundreds of elite hybrids of the non-food energy crop Jatropha.
"The opening of our new facility and expansion of our operations brings to reality our vision to establish a world-class global crop improvement platform supported by state-of-the-art plant biotechnology and genomics," said Kirk Haney, president and chief executive officer. "We're continuing to see strong market demand and are excited to have a headquarters and research center that can fully support our global operations and help customers secure large volumes of low cost plant oils, biomass and alternatives to petroleum."
In addition to its new integrated headquarters, plant biotechnology and genomics center and expanded greenhouse facilities in San Diego, SGB's commercial and operational advancements include:
- Establishment of a seed production facility in Guatemala where the company is scaling its operational capacity to produce large volumes of elite hybrid Jatropha seed. Seed production will support a planned 25,000 acre commercial pilot in Guatemala.
- Deployment of three additional JMax Knowledge Centers™ in Brazil and four in India, where the company will advance hundreds of its elite Jatropha hybrids. The centers are in addition to existing locations in each country.
"In support of our regional breeding and cultivar selection efforts, the expanded research center in San Diego allows us to enhance the use of novel genotyping and molecular breeding tools designed to shorten the breeding cycle and accelerate the time to marketplace of elite planting materials," said Eric Mathur, chief technologist for SGB.
SGB scientists have developed a state-of-the-art, high throughput genotyping pipeline which has revealed remarkable genotypic diversity in its Jatropha germplasm collection. This genotyping platform enables rapid, digital DNA fingerprinting of parental and hybrid lines which affords patent protection and allows SGB breeders to maximize and accelerate the production of high performing hybrid varieties of Jatropha. The molecular breeding laboratory is also developing innovative genomic selection methods which incorporate genome-wide DNA marker information in a training population which enables accurate prediction of breeding gain. Through genomic selection, SGB will shorten the breeding cycle and significantly increase the rate of genetic gain when compared to conventional breeding and selection programs.
SGB's new research center also houses a tissue culture facility where Jatropha transformation and plant regeneration technologies are under development. These methods will enable the introduction of important traits including insect resistance and herbicide tolerance.
In January 2012, SGB completed a $17 million Series B financing led by Thomas, McNerney & Partners with participation from Finistere Ventures and current investors Flint Hills Resources, LLC and Life Technologies Corporation. SGB now has a global team of more than 70 employees focused on breeding, plant genomics, agronomy, seed production and corporate and business development.