Yield10 Bioscience is an agricultural bioscience company focusing on the development of disruptive technologies to produce step-change improvements in crop yield for food and feed crops to enhance global food security. Experts forecast that food production must be increased by over 70% in the next 35 years to feed the growing global population, which is expected to increase from 7 billion to more than 9.6 billion by 2050. Yield10 is focused on new agricultural biotechnology approaches to improve fundamental elements of plant metabolism through enhanced photosynthetic efficiency and directed carbon utilization. Yield10 is working to develop, validate and commercialize new traits and identify gene editing targets in several key crops including canola, soybean and corn. Yield10 was launched by Metabolix, Inc. in 2015 and is traded on Nasdaq (YTEN). Yield10 is headquartered in Woburn, MA and has an additional agricultural science facility with greenhouses in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Metabolix was founded in 1992 and focused on engineering microbes to make proprietary bioplastics and bio-based chemicals. In 2002, Metabolix started a crop science research program with the intent to harness the renewable nature of plants to produce renewable bioplastics, chemicals and bioenergy from agricultural crops. Historically, Metabolix put most of its crop technology efforts on developing proprietary systems to produce PHB, the simplest member of the PHA family of biopolymers, in high concentration in the seeds of oilseed crops or in the leaves of biomass crops for these applications.
With development advancing in our agricultural biotechnology approach and with our progress producing PHB in plants, we learned that producing PHB in increasing levels in the biomass of switchgrass resulted in impaired plant growth. This result is not unexpected, as we were diverting a significant fraction of the carbon fixed by the plants into PHB, which represented a new carbon sink. Given these observations and our longer-term goal at the time to develop commercially viable ways to produce PHB biopolymer in switchgrass and the industrial oilseed camelina, we began developing new genetic and informatics tools and began capturing intellectual property around strategies to enhance the photosynthetic capacity of plants.
In 2015, we set a new mission and redeployed our crop science program, launching with the name “Yield10 Bioscience.” It is now developing proprietary, breakthrough plant biotechnologies to improve crop productivity and seed yield based on our “Smart Carbon Grid for Crops” and our metabolic engineering platform called the “T3” Platform. We are now focusing on advanced crop technologies to boost the CO2 fixation efficiency through photosynthesis as well as its direction to and conversion into plant matter. Our team has demonstrated yield improvements in switchgrass biomass and camelina oilseed, and we are developing innovative agricultural biotechnology approaches in significant row crops to provide novel solutions for global food security.