Shares of Synthetic Biology Hopeful Zymergen Plunge as CEO Departs

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Courtesy of Zymergen

Zymergen disclosed precocious Tuesday that its CEO Josh Hoffman was leaving aft immoderate customers had problems implementing the company’s main product. The shares plummeted much than 68% successful after-hours trading pursuing the announcement.

The company, which uses biologic processes to marque chemicals, said Tuesday that it nary longer expected merchandise gross successful 2021. Product gross adjacent twelvemonth is expected to beryllium “immaterial,” Zymergen said successful a statement.

Barron’s recently highlighted  Zymergen (ticker: ZY) arsenic 1 of 3 players to ticker successful synthetic biology. The different 2 were Amyris (AMRS) and Ginkgo Bioworks, which is readying to spell nationalist done a merger with Soaring Eagle Acquisition (SRNG), a special-purpose acquisition company, oregon SPAC. Synthetic biology is the blending of biotechnology with concern chemistry.

Zymergen said that Hoffman, who is besides a co-founder, had, by “mutual decision,” stepped down arsenic main enforcement and arsenic a subordinate of the committee effectual immediately. The company’s chairman, Jay Flatley, a erstwhile CEO of Illumina (ILMN), is replacing him arsenic acting CEO.

“We are disappointed by these developments, and the committee and absorption squad are focused connected resolving the underlying issues to guarantee Zymergen moves guardant arsenic a stronger institution with a compelling operating plan,” Flatley said a statement.

The quality comes much than 3 months aft Zymergen went nationalist successful April astatine $31 a share. Zymergen’s banal roseate much than 21% successful its marketplace debut to adjacent astatine $37.65. Shares deed a precocious of $48.42 aboriginal that period and ended Tuesday astatine $34.83. 

Synthetic biology, if it works, could trim the request for petroleum-based chemicals arsenic good arsenic for plant- and animal-based products, benefiting the environment. Zymergen’s cardinal merchandise is Hyaline, an optical movie that tin beryllium utilized successful display-touch sensors for idiosyncratic devices and different applications. The merchandise was successful the qualification process with customers. 

Zymergen said respective people customers during the 4th “encountered method issues” implementing Hyaline and that this would origin a hold successful the company’s commercialized ramp. Zymergen said it was besides evaluating information for the full addressable marketplace of foldable show applications that bespeak “a smaller near-term marketplace accidental that is increasing little rapidly than anticipated,” the connection said. 

In May, J.P. Morgan had initiated sum of Zymergen with an Overweight standing and a $40 terms target.

Zymergen has formed dedicated committees and is moving with extracurricular experts to behaviour a reappraisal of its operational, financial, product, and commercialization efforts and is coming up with an updated strategical program for the company, Flatley said. It has besides launched a hunt process to place a imperishable CEO. 

Zymergen is reducing and aligning expenses arsenic a effect of its reduced gross expectations. The institution present anticipates full gross of $5 cardinal to $6 million, each relating to R&D work agreements and collaboration revenue, for the 4th ended June 30. It has astir $588 cardinal of currency and currency equivalents connected hand.

Write to Luisa Beltran astatine luisa.beltran@dowjones.com

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