St. Louis biotech startup signs deal to develop new source for rubber

Aug 11, 2015, 11:43am CDT /BizJournals

St. Louis-based biotechnology company Kultevat Inc. has entered a research and development agreement with Japan-based Sumitomo Rubber Industries to expedite the development of an alternative source of natural rubber from Russian dandelions.

Being able to produce rubber from the plant has advantages over Hevea rubber trees because the dandelions can be grown in many more regions around the world, including North America. The plant is already being grown for processing, testing and prototype development. The company expects commercial sales of the rubber to begin in 2016, of which it will have exclusive rights.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries committed an undisclosed amount of funding to the joint research. It will use the new rubber mostly for tires.  (read more)