Lygos Partners with Leading Materials Scientists at the University of Massachusetts to Expand Applications of its Bio-Malonic™ Acid Product Family

Feb 20, 2019

Artificial Intelligence and large structural datasets to power research aimed at characterizing and creating more sustainable performance polymers for sports gear and lightweight materials


BERKELEY, Calif. and AMHERST, Mass. – February 20, 2019 Lygos Inc., a full-stack producer of petroleum-free specialty chemicals that deliver high-value performance without the environmental toxicity, today announced a new partnership with the Center for University of Massachusetts-Industry Research on Polymers (CUMIRP), the nation’s oldest National Science Foundation Industry / University Cooperative Research Center dedicated to polymer research.

The partnership, led by Professors Harry Bermudez and Shaw Ling Hsu of the UMass-Amherst Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, aims to develop novel high-value applications for the company’s Bio-Malonic™ Acid product family, which includes the derivatives diethyl and dimethyl malonates. By elucidating how the underlying microstructures of cross-linked polymer systems are enabled by malonates, the collaboration endeavors to identify new formulations that will result in high-value, stable and sustainable materials, such as impact-absorbing foams, composites and durable coatings. These polymers are currently produced using petrochemical-based processes that are not only toxic to the environment but also represent a health risk to workers and end-users.

“Our Bio-Malonic Acid products provide a cost-effective and sustainable alternative for producing high-performing polymers that can be used for many large industrial and consumer markets,” said Johan van Walsem, Chief Operations Officer of Lygos. “Together with Professors Bermudez and Hsu and their team at the University of Massachusetts, we aim to produce various high-value, thermally stable polymer systems that can eventually replace harmful petro-based processes, reclaim local manufacturing, revive industrial innovation, and revitalize the circular economy.”

This research collaboration will characterize polymer microstructures using novel artificial intelligence and machine learning-based approaches to elucidate structure-property relationships for disordered crosslinked systems. Despite an abundance of data on crosslinked polymer systems, the knowledge of how to achieve the ideal balance of chain extension and crosslinking for optimizing performance in specific applications is still lacking. This collaboration will explore the application of malonates with multiple reactivities and variable hydrophilicity in crosslinked systems including foams, coatings, adhesives, and films that are critical to many industries including healthcare and consumer goods.

“Most crosslinked materials are developed and used because of their attractive properties and thermal stability. It is also precisely these special attributes that make them particularly challenging to characterize. The innovative approaches powering this collaboration promise to substantially expand our understanding and control of these systems,” said David Waldman, PhD, Director, CUMIRP.

“Lygos has developed a range of malonates with the potential to enable new performance properties in a range of crosslinked materials systems and impact multi-billion-dollar markets that are seeking more sustainable and renewable solutions,” said Shaw Ling Hsu, PhD, Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

About Center for University of Massachusetts-Industry Research on Polymers

The mission of the Center for University of Massachusetts-Industry Research on Polymers (“CUMIRP”) is to act as a cross-road where University research and education meet with Industry and Government partners in the field of Polymer Materials, Engineering and Processing to leverage resources and foster partnerships leading to sustained valued collaborations.  CUMIRP was established in 1980 and is the oldest continuous running program of the National Science Foundation established Industry / University Cooperative Research Center (NSF-I/UCRC) in the area of science or engineering.

About Lygos

Lygos has created a full-stack biological engineering platform focused on organic acid specialty chemicals and bio-monomers. Lygos’ sustainable, bio-based chemicals replace expensive, environmentally degrading alternatives from traditional industrial suppliers, enabling customers to create better, safer products with value-added performance. For more information, visit and follow us @LygosBiotech.

Lygos, the Lygos logo and Bio-Malonic are trademarks of Lygos, Inc. All other brands may be trademarks of their respective holders.

Media Contact
Andrew Noble
(415) 722-2129