Rho's technology targets primarily the production of high-value specialty chemicals that are based on monocyclic aromatic ring structures. The Company harnesses the power of the class of enzymes known as polyketide synthases (PKSs) to convert sugars to more desirable and valuable chemical products.
These sophisticated and highly evolved enzymes can be engineered to function in common Baker's/Brewer's yeasts, thereby taking advantage of the multi-hundred years of knowledge gained in cultivating such organisms to make products of benefit to mankind at huge scale. In doing this, traditional, non-environmentally friendly chemical processes are replaced by clean, well-accepted fermentation processes, and give rise to products that are precursors for a number of very high value vitamins and flavor molecules, such as Vitamin E and Menthol.
In addition to high-value specialty chemicals, Rho's technology opens the door to also making high octane oxygenate aryl ether molecules that have been shown previously, in many studies, to be highly beneficial additives to gasoline. The Company has shown that it can biosynthesize the flagship energy-dense, high octane, oxygenate molecule Rhoctane™ using its proprietary yeast technology. This molecule is seen as a potential addition to the renewable components of gasoline which, currently, is dominated by bioethanol.
Lastly, Rho scientists have developed yeast strains for the production of additional high-value monocyclic aromatic compounds, such as styrene and vanillin. These processes are currently being optimized for scale-up to pilot scale and beyond.