Researchers at Viridos are turning algae into motor fuel. Image from company video

Synthetic Genomics, a privately held company that created the first synthetic bacteria cell in 2016, announced Monday it has changed its name to Viridos to highlight its commercial focus on environmental sustainability.

CEO Oliver Fetzer said the name change is part of the company’s effort to deploy its genomic expertise and algae biofuel technology to address climate change.

“The name Viridos, drawn from the Latin word viridis, translating to green and fresh, represents our company’s mission to design revolutionary technologies, products and systems that enable businesses and governments to implement sustainable solutions needed to mitigate climate change,” said Fetzer.

Founded in 2005 by DNA-pioneer J. Craig Venter and Hamilton Smith, the company’s accomplishments include transplanting the first genome, synthesizing the first bacterial genome and creating the first synthetic cell.

In addition to its work in sustainable algae biofuel, Viridos is commercializing its expertise in algae genomics, photosynthesis and advanced agronomics to decarbonize other industries that need to operate more sustainably.

Viridos’ biofuel research is part of a 12-year partnership with ExxonMobil to bring advanced biofuels to the transportation market.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.