Codexis, Inc. (CDXS) Cuts 113, Hires New CFO  
9/6/2012 8:16:55 AM

Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal by Diana Samuels, Technology Reporter

Codexis Inc., a company that makes environmentally friendly chemicals, fuels and pharmaceutical processes, said Tuesday it will lay off 133 people.

The layoffs are necessary because the Redwood City-based company is ending an agreement it had with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and will lose ongoing funding, a statement from the company said. Codexis (Nasdaq: CDXS) reported having 347 employees total as of last year, so the loss is more than a third of its staff. The layoffs will be effective Oct. 30.

The company ended its research agreement with Shell two months early, effective Aug. 31. Shell will pay Codexis $7.5 million to satisfy the contract.

Codexis also signed a new agreement with Shell that will allow Codexis to sell some of its products, developed as part of its relationship with Shell, to other companies. It can now commercialize its biofuels enzymes and sell them to other companies, though Codexis will have to give Shell preferential pricing and a royalty on its sales to other companies.

Codexis’ technology re-engineers enzymes and microorganisms to do things like transform waste biomass into fuel and make affordable industrial chemicals from sustainable sources.

Codexis also announced a shareholder rights plan to guard the company against takeover offers. The rights aren’t being distributed in response to any specific effort to take over the company, the company’s press release said.

In addition, the company announced a new CFO. David O’Toole, a former CFO at Response Genetics, joins the company beginning Tuesday. He was also CFO at Abraxis Bioscience, and spent 16 years at accounting firm Deloitte LLP.

Codexis’ previous interim CFO, Brian Dowd, left in June. According to his LinkedIn profile, he now works for Foster City-based Mondee, a travel and technology group. He had replaced Robert Lawson, who was hired by cloud phone system company RingCentral.