Case Study: Agile BioFoundry Enables Scale-Up of Lygos’ Sustainable Bioproduct

Isobutyric acid is a chemical compound with a wide range of applications, from flavoring to solvents and even as a building block of plexiglass. Biotech company Lygos is working on the development of numerous sustainable ingredients, including a bio-based source of isobutyric acid.

In 2018, Lygos teamed up with the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) to increase production of this organic acid and scale up its production to commercial relevance. Alongside this goal, Lygos also aimed to onboard its acid-tolerant species of yeast as a production host for the Agile BioFoundry.

“Lygos has spent the past decade developing an industrial-scale production platform for a wide variety of multi-functional organic acids that offer compelling performance, economic and environmental advantages over traditional industrial ingredients,” said Andrew Conley, Vice President of Biology R&D at Lygos. “Our proprietary fermentation-based transformation process, suite of high-throughput engineering technologies, and ever-increasing multi-omics datasets have enabled us to continue to improve strain performance, scale production capabilities up to 100-fold, and commercialize new products faster than ever before.”

Applying ABF’s Design-Build-Test-Learn capabilities, this two-year collaboration resulted in a 20-fold increase in production of isobutyric acid.

ABF’s proteomics and metabolomics capabilities were key to identifying and resolving bottlenecks in the process. “The combination of the multi-omics dataset and ABF’s expertise, tools, and technologies have enabled us to further accelerate the strain engineering design, build, test, and learn cycle,” Conley said.

“Thanks to this collaboration with the ABF, Lygos is now one step closer to our goal of replacing another toxic industrial chemical process with a multi-functional biobased form of isobutyric acid that offers compelling performance, economic and environmental advantages over the traditional industrial alternative,” Conley said.

About Lygos
Lygos has created a full-stack biological engineering platform focused on organic acid specialty ingredients, health & wellness ingredients, including cannabinoids and bio-monomers. Lygos’ sustainable, bio-based chemicals replace expensive, environmentally degrading alternatives from traditional industrial suppliers, enabling customers to create better, safer products with value-added performance. For interest in Lygos’ ingredients and technology, please visit: