Intellectual Property

Mirel PHA biopolymersMetabolix has established an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio with more than 500 issued and pending patents.

Metabolix owns approximately 380 issued patents and approximately 140 patent applications worldwide, and we have licensed from third parties approximately 25 issued patents and patent applications worldwide. The Metabolix patent estate is built around our platform technologies as well as a variety of inventions relevant to the commercialization of our PHA biopolymers, including Mirel and our biobased industrial chemicals

Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyOur extensive patent portfolio covers the fundamental biotechnology inventions needed to produce Mirel biopolymers and a range of biobased chemicals as well as biopolymer and biochemical compositions, processes and derived products. The licensed patents and patent applications in our intellectual property portfolio also include patents covering certain aspects of our core technology that are owned by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and exclusively licensed to us. 

Our intellectual property portfolio includes patents directed to compositions of polymers, genes, vectors, expression systems in plants and microbes, devices, coatings, films, as well as methods of manufacture and use.

Metabolix continues to extend this patent estate within our core business as well as within other commercial opportunities in the areas of biobased plastics, chemicals and energy.


As part of our commercial strategy, we have in-licensed technology, and where appropriate, we expect to continue to out- license our intellectual property to others in fields outside our scope of interest.

Metabolix has signed non-exclusive agreements with BASF Corporation and NatureWorks, LLC to make, use and sell certain biopolymer blends covered by a patent issued to UMASS Lowell and licensed by Metabolix. Metabolix has also provided an exclusive license to Tepha Inc. for certain medical applications of PHA biopolymers.

NatureWorks LLC

In 2012 Metabolix granted a nonexclusive sublicense under U.S. Patent No. 5,883,199 to NatureWorks, LLC to make, use and sell blends of PLA with certain other polymers, including polybutylene succinate ("PBS"). 

BASF Corporation

In 2010 Metabolix granted a nonexclusive sublicense under U. S. Patent No. 5,883,199 to BASF Corporation to produce and market blends of PLA and polybutylene adipate terephthalate ("PBAT"). BASF sells these blends under the trade name Ecovio®. 

Tepha medical devices

Since 1999, Metabolix has had a licensing relationship with Tepha, Inc, a developer of medical devices derived from a new class of resorbable polymers that have been engineered utilizing recombinant DNA technology. Tepha has an exclusive license to  certain Metabolix technology for producing transgenic PHA biomaterials for use in medical applications.