SAN DIEGO, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Verenium Corporation (Nasdaq: VRNM), a leading industrial biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of high-performance enzymes, today announced that it has received regulatory authorization from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to market its next-generation cellulase enzyme for non-food applications, including use as a biocatalyst to break down the guar-based gel used in hydraulic fracturing. This highly thermo-stable enzyme was developed by Verenium scientists using proprietary DirectEvolution® technology, and is designed to function under higher temperatures and extreme pH conditions, such as those in gas shales and deeper oil and gas wells.
"While our Pyrolase® cellulase product currently used for breaking guar during hydraulic fracturing is effective in fracturing jobs at temperatures under 180 degrees F, our work with the industry enabled us to define the characteristics of a more robust enzyme breaker. Our next-generation product has been tested in the labs of several oilfield services companies demonstrating that it functions well in more extreme temperature ranges and higher pH conditions," said James Levine, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Verenium estimates the addressable market in the U.S. for guar breakers in hydraulic fracturing is $250 million. Verenium's next-generation enzyme breaker represents an advancement in performance properties that the Company believes can expand the share of this market addressable by enzymes well beyond the current ten percent. The Company expects to launch this next-generation product in the second half of 2012.
"With this authorization, we have the opportunity to expand our current offering to the oilfield services industry and provide a hyper-thermostable enzyme that provides several important economic, operational and environmental advantages over the traditional chemical breakers currently used, both during the fracturing process and over the remaining operational life of the well," added Levine.