Genome British Columbia - Genome Genomics

image description
You are here:

News Releases

Novel micro-organisms could aid search for renewable fuels


Vancouver, BC – The desire for the discovery of renewable liquid fuels and commodity chemicals has escalated. This is due to the environmental impact of current production methods as well as waning supply security due to geopolitical tensions and decreasing total reserve of petroleum-based fuels and chemicals.

A team of BC scientists, led by UBC’s Dr. Hennie van Vuuren, and investors have founded Creatus Biosciences Inc. (Creatus) to realize applications of a novel micro-organism that  produces commercially valuable chemicals with applications across many industry markets. The chemical synthesis of many compounds is often environmentally unsustainable and capital intensive, making biological production a win-win situation.

“We have isolated a novel micro-organism that converts xylose to a variety of commercially important compounds.  We have sequenced the genome of this organism and are currently using genetic engineering techniques to overproduce these commercially important compounds,” says Dr. Hennie JJ van Vuuren, Director of the Wine Research Center at UBC. “Our technology could lead to a reduced cost of several important chemicals and prevent pollution of the environment.”

The strategy of the research is to master the over-production of these compounds using genetic engineering of metabolic pathways. Creatus will file for patent applications and commercialize or license these technologies. 

Genome BC is supporting this research through its Strategic Opportunities Fund for Industry (SOFi) program. The SOFi program seeks to accelerate commercial potential with local companies and facilitate collaboration with industry.

“The work being done by Creatus, the development of a novel micro-organism that accelerates access to commercially significant chemical compounds, is an essential component of keeping our vibrant life sciences community on the cutting-edge,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome BC.


About Genome British Columbia:
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada’s West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $710M in 254 research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. Genome BC is supported by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada and more than 300 international public and private co-funding partners.


Jennifer Boon
Communications Manager, Sectors
Genome BC
Mobile: 778-327-8374  

Dara Djafarian
Creatus Biosciences Inc.
Phone: 604-691-2271