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Codexis climbs on Chemtex production milestone

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Codexis Inc. jumped Friday after the company said it reached an important milestone in development of detergent alcohols made from biomass.

THE SPARK: Codexis and its partner Chemtex said they have scaled up production of CodeXol detergent alcohols. The alcohols are designed to combine Codexis enzymes with Chemtex's Proesa technology, which converts plant material into sugary liquids that can be used to make biofuels and biochemicals. The companies say their process turned cellulosic sugars into detergent alcohols.

Codexis says the alcohols will be used to manufacture surfactants, which are important cleaning ingredients in consumer products like shampoos, liquid soaps and laundry detergents.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Redwood City, Calif., company develops enzymes for industrial purposes. It completed its initial public offering in April 2010 and announced a collaboration with Chemtex in July 2011. However the company's revenue and share price declined in 2012 at the end of an important collaboration with oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Codexis' annual revenue fell 29 percent to $88 million in 2012.

In April the Food and Drug Administration approved Codexis' process for manufacturing the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Merck and Co.' diabetes drug Januvia. The method is intended to make the ingredient, sitagliptin, in a way that is more environmentally friendly and efficient than older techniques and could increase the yield of the component while lowering the amount of waste products.

SHARE ACTION: Codexis shares rose 55 cents, or 25.4 percent, to $2.72 in afternoon trading. The stock fell almost 60 percent in 2012, and has lost more than 80 percent of its value since its IPO price of $13 per share.