Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Description of Business

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Description of Business
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2019
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Description of Business Description of Business
In these notes to the consolidated financial statements, the “Company,” “we,” “us,’” and “our” refers to Codexis, Inc. and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.
We discover, develop and sell proteins that deliver value to our clients in a growing set of industries. We view proteins as a vast untapped source of value-creating materials, and we are using our proven technologies, which we have been continuously improving since our inception in 2002, to commercialize an increasing number of novel proteins, both as proprietary Codexis products and in partnership with our customers.
We are a pioneer in the harnessing of computational technologies to drive biology advancements. Since 2002, we have made substantial investments in the development of our CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology platform, the primary source of our competitive advantage. Our technology platform is powered by proprietary, artificial intelligence-based, computational algorithms that rapidly mine our large and continuously growing library of protein variants’ performance attributes. These computational outputs enable increasingly reliable predictions for next generation protein variants to be engineered, enabling delivery of targeted performance enhancements in a time-efficient manner. In addition to its computational prowess, our CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology platform integrates additional modular competencies, including robotic high-throughput screening and genomic sequencing, organic chemistry and process development which are all coordinated to create our novel protein innovations.
Our approach to developing commercially viable biocatalytic manufacturing processes begins by conceptually designing the most cost-effective and practical process for a targeted product. We then develop optimized protein catalysts to enable that process design, using our CodeEvolver® protein engineering platform technology. Engineered protein catalyst candidates many thousands for each protein engineering project are then rapidly screened and validated in high throughput screening under relevant manufacturing operating conditions. This approach results in an optimized protein catalyst enabling cost-efficient processes that typically are relatively simple to run in conventional manufacturing equipment. This also allows for the efficient technical transfer of our process to our manufacturing partners.
The successful embodiment of our CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology platform in commercial manufacturing processes requires well-integrated expertise in a number of technical disciplines. In addition to those directly involved in practicing our CodeEvolver® protein engineering platform technology, such as molecular biology, enzymology, microbiology, cellular engineering, metabolic engineering, bioinformatics, biochemistry and high throughput analytical chemistry, our process development projects also involve integrated expertise in organic chemistry, chemical process development, chemical engineering, fermentation process development and fermentation engineering. Our integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to biocatalyst and process development is a critical success factor for our company.
We initially commercialized our CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology platform and products in the pharmaceuticals market, which remains a primary business focus. Our customers, which include many large global pharmaceutical companies, use our technology, products and services in their manufacturing processes and process development. We have also licensed our proprietary CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology platform to global pharmaceutical companies so that they may in turn use this technology to engineer enzymes for their own businesses. Most recently, in May 2019, we entered into a Platform Technology Transfer and License Agreement (the “Novartis CodeEvolver® Agreement”) with Novartis Pharma AG (“Novartis”). The Novartis CodeEvolver® Agreement allows Novartis to use Codexis’ proprietary CodeEvolver® protein engineering platform technology in the field of human healthcare.
As evidence of our strategy to extend our technology beyond pharmaceutical manufacturing, we have also used the technology to develop protein catalysts and industrial enzymes for use in a wider set of industrial markets. These target industries consist of several large market verticals, including food and food ingredients, animal feed, consumer care, flavors, fragrances and agricultural chemicals. In addition, we are using our technology to develop enzymes for customers using next generation sequencing ("NGS") and polymerase chain reaction ("PCR/qPCR") for in vitro molecular diagnostic and genomic research applications. In December 2019, we entered into a license agreement to provide Roche with our first enzyme for this target market, Codexis’ EvoT4™ DNA ligase.
We have also begun using the CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology platform to develop early stage, novel biotherapeutic product candidates, both for our customers and for our own business, most notably our lead program for the potential treatment of PKU in humans. PKU is an inherited metabolic disorder in which the enzyme that converts the essential amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine is deficient. In October 2017, we entered into the Nestlé Agreement with Nestlé Health
Science to advance CDX-6114, our enzyme biotherapeutic product candidate for the potential treatment of PKU. In February 2019, Nestlé Health Science exercised its option to obtain an exclusive license to develop and commercialize CDX-6114.
Below are brief descriptions of our business segments:
Performance Enzymes
We initially commercialized our CodeEvolver® protein engineering technology platform and products in the pharmaceuticals market, and to date this continues to be our largest market served. Our customers, which include many large global pharmaceutical companies, use our technology, products and services in their manufacturing processes and process development. We have also used the technology to develop customized enzymes for use in other industrial markets. These markets consist of several large industrial verticals, including food and food ingredients, animal feed, consumer care, flavors, fragrances, and agricultural chemicals. We also use our technology to develop enzymes for customers using NGS and PCR/qPCR for in vitro molecular diagnostic and molecular biology research applications.
Novel Biotherapeutics
We are also targeting new opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry to discover, improve, and/or develop biotherapeutic drug candidates. We believe that our CodeEvolver® protein engineering platform technology can be used to discover novel biotherapeutic drug candidates that will target human diseases that are in need of improved therapeutic interventions. Similarly, we believe that we can deploy our platform technology to improve specific characteristics of a customer’s pre-existing biotherapeutic drug candidate, such as its activity, stability or immunogenicity. Most notable is our lead program for the potential treatment of hyperphenylalaninemia (“HPA”) (also referred to as PKU) in humans. PKU is an inherited metabolic disorder in which the enzyme that converts the essential amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine is deficient. In October 2017, we announced a global development, option and license agreement with Nestlé Health Science to advance CDX-6114, our own novel orally administrable enzyme therapeutic candidate for the potential treatment of PKU. In July 2018, we announced that we had dosed the first subjects in a first-in-human Phase 1a dose-escalation trial with CDX-6114, which was conducted in Australia. In November 2018, we announced top-line results from the Phase 1a study in healthy volunteers with CDX-6114. In December 2018, Nestlé Health Science became obligated to pay us an additional $1.0 million within 60 days after the achievement of a milestone relating to formulation of CDX-6114. In January 2019, we received notice from the FDA that it had completed its review of our IND for CDX-6114 and concluded that we may proceed with the proposed Phase 1b multiple ascending dose study in healthy volunteers in the United States. In February 2019, Nestlé Health Science exercised its option to obtain an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing, sub-licensable license for the global development and commercialization of CDX-6114 for the management of PKU. In January 2020, we and Nestlé Health Science entered into a development agreement pursuant to which we and Nestlé Health Science are collaborating to advance a lead candidate targeting a gastro-intestinal disorder discovered through our Strategic Collaboration Agreement into pre-clinical and early clinical studies. Concurrently, the Strategic Collaboration Agreement was extended through December 2021. See Note 16, "Subsequent Events” in the notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements set forth in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Using our CodeEvolver® protein engineering platform technology, we have also developed a pipeline of other biotherapeutic drug candidates, all of which are in preclinical development. We expect to continue to make additional investments in our pipeline with the aim of advancing additional product candidates targeting other therapeutic areas.
For additional discussion of our business segments, see Note 15, "Segment, Geographical and Other Revenue Information."