Fresh off its impressive $14 million Series B round in 2009, advanced materials start-up Novomer picked up further momentum after it announced a development agreement with investor DSM, a materials science company based in the Netherlands. Novomer’s catalyst technology enables production of plastics, polymers and other fine chemicals from renewable feedstocks like CO and CO2. As we’ve stated before (see the April 6, 2009 LRNJ and the August 31, 2009 LRNJ – client registration required), the company is a leader in a relatively unpopulated field: Other than U.S.-based Empower Materials (see the March 16, 2009 LRNJ – client registration required), Norway-based Norner Innovation (see the March 30, 2009 LRNJ – client registration required), and a few players in Asia, there are very few developers of carbon-dioxide-based polymers outside of university labs.
Novomer and its new partner, DSM, plan to focus on creating carbon-dioxide-based polymer coatings and inks for food and beverage, automotive, and industrial applications. The match between Novomer and DSM makes perfect sense, as their technologies and needs complement one another. Namely, Novomer’s carbon-based polymer production technology dovetails neatly with DSM’s deep experience in developing and selling petroleum-based versions of the polymers. This new agreement and its amenable licensing business model make it safe to predict that Novomer is starting to pull away from its competitors. Clients with needs for environmentally friendly polymers should engage.