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LOWELL ߝ June 6, 2007 ߝ The University of Massachusetts Lowell announced a licensing agreement with Metabolix Inc. (www.metabolix.com) for the production of improved high performance plastics that are biobased, sustainable and biodegradable.
The material method (US Patent No. 5,883,199) for blending different biodegradable plastics to make them more usable, was developed by Dr. Stephen McCarthy, plastics engineering professor and director of the Biodegradable Polymer Research Center at UMass Lowell.
Marty Meehan, chancellor-elect of UMass Lowell, said, “This agreement is an important step in making plastics that don’t harm the environment, and it reflects our mission at the University of Massachusetts to translate innovation into marketable products that serve the Commonwealth.”
More than 350 billion pounds of plastic is produced each year and nearly 10 percent of total U.S. oil consumption is used to make plastic, thus contributing to the world’s growing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on oil. Non-biodegradable plastics have a significant, adverse impact on the environment.
About the University of Massachusetts
The University of Massachusetts educates 60,000 students at its five campuses and through UMass Online, generates an estimated $4.2 billion in annual economic activity, and spends more than $400 million annually on research. UMass ranks 11th among American universities in technology licensing revenue ߝ generating $28.7 million in fiscal year 2005, second in the state only to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
UMass Lowell, www.uml.edu, a comprehensive university with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education.
Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation driven bioscience company providing clean, sustainable solutions for the world’s needs for plastics, fuels, and chemicals. The company is taking a systems approach, from gene to end product, to integrate sophisticated biotechnology with advanced industrial practice, and is now developing and commercializing environmentally sustainable and totally biodegradable Mirel™ natural plastics as a clean alternative to petroleum-based plastics.
In addition to its microbial fermentation platform for producing Mirel™ natural plastics, Metabolix is also developing a proprietary platform technology for co-producing, in biomass energy crops such as switchgrass, natural plastics and biomass for biofuels such as ethanol and for chemical products.
For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com. (MBLX-G)