The VC Biofuel Bet: Amyris Raising $70M

amyris1.jpgVenture firms, particularly Khosla Ventures, can’t get enough of biofuels. Amyris Biotechnologies, an Emeryville-based synthetic biology start-up that develops a fermentation process to produce biofuels, just landed the first part of $70 million in VC backing from DAG Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and TPG Ventures, according to the Contra Costa Times. Update: Here’s the company’s press release this morning.

The company is developing biofuels to replace gas, diesel and jetfuel. According to the Times the release, the funding will be used to help the company bring these fuels to market by 2010. Amyris previously raised $20 million Series A Funding in October of 2006 led by Khosla Ventures. We contacted the company and will add more details when we learn more.

Recently there’s been a rush of venture funding into biofuel startups, as companies are struggling to develop the next-generation of more efficient and cost-effective environmentally friendly fuels. Propel Biofuels, Virent, Endicott, Galten, and Terrabon all raised funding in the past few weeks.
The Canadian government also launched a roughly $500 million fund to jump-start the development and production of next generation biofuels in Canada.

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