Apr 8, 2020

The Most Exciting Thing You Can Barely See

by Richard Pieters, President, Products

These are challenging times – and certainly unprecedented. Like so many other companies, Zymergen has done whatever we can to help reduce the spread and find a treatment for COVID-19. Everything from volunteering our equipment and expertise to exploring potential treatments in our own labs. Despite all the headwinds we are facing, I am pleased to share a bright spot from last week.

On Wednesday morning, Zymergen announced our first standalone, commercially available product called HYALINE – a revolutionary bio-generated specialty film in the polyimide family. Hyaline is unique, both because it is created from building blocks that deliver previously unseen combinations of properties, and because it has been developed through biotechnology. I consider this a huge step in our quest for innovative material performance. Not incremental improvement, but transformational. After many years in the chemical and materials industries, I am inspired by this development and I could not be more proud of the team that made it happen. Our planet needs better and more sustainable solutions, and my belief is that technology – and in particular, technology and biology together – can help develop and advance these solutions better and faster.

Zymergen may be considered new to the specialty films market, but our 800+ employees are not. We bring rich and diverse experience from across the polymer chemistry, biology and automation communities, as well as specific industrial domain expertise. Together, we take on the central question: “what do customers see as an unmet need and how can we use biology to get there?”

A primary goal for any customer is better performance, and Zymergen engineers the complex molecular structures – created through biology – that allow us to develop entirely new high-performance polymers. Complexity at the molecular level is our sweet spot and we engineer microbes that deliver advanced new molecules from renewable resources, ultimately enabling us to generate entirely new compounds and better materials and products.

Our co-development partner for the Hyaline product is Sumitomo Chemical in Japan, one of the most respected chemical companies in the world – driving innovation, incredible depth in manufacturing and an ability to scale. Their partnership and exciting teamwork provided exceptional insights into the full electronics supply chain and helped drive outstanding product results.

With Hyaline, we offer big improvements across a number of critical applications. For touch sensors, we have developed an unrivaled combination of mechanical, physical and optical properties that enable durable full-screen flexible or foldable devices, and allows for higher ITO annealing temperatures. We can create a thinner film with high temperature properties that enable faster processing time. And we are able to create completely transparent, high temperature printed electronics like flexible printed circuit boards that eliminate epoxy and acrylic adhesive layers, which results in a 30% thinner and more flexible system.

We are proud to deliver exceptional performance with Hyaline, but our Zymergen story goes well beyond this single material. Our products – and our company – are built on the premise that you can partner with the natural world and unlock biology to make revolutionary new materials. Our platform and massive metagenomic database provide us with the tools and catalog to drive rapid discovery, design, and delivery of new biologically-derived materials at commercial scale. Materials that would have been impossible just a year or two ago are now not only possible, but better. Better for customers, better for people, better for the planet.

We are Zymergen, we don’t just make things better, we make better things. Contact us if you’re ready to make your tomorrow with Zymergen. Be safe everyone!

Learn more about Hyaline here.