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Marrone Bio Innovations posts losses as it invests in the future

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Pam Marrone, founder of Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. in Davis, does some field work as part of the company's pursuit of biologically based pest management and plant health products. Enterprise file photo

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From page A5 | September 15, 2013 |

Davis-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. — which now is a public company thanks to a successful initial public offering in early August — is growing, but it’s still not profitable.

The local biotech firm reported revenues totaling $4.5 million during the second quarter of 2013, nearly 200 percent more than the same period in 2012. The $7.2 million earnings from the first half of 2013 nearly exceed the company’s revenue from all of last year.

But MBI reported a loss of $1.6 million in the second quarter, compared to a net loss of $3.9 million in the same period last year. The loss was attributed to spending on infrastructure, research and personnel.

MBI was founded seven years ago by Davis resident Pam Marrone with the aim of providing environmentally safe bio-based pest management and plant health products worldwide.

Part of what the business is doing to invest in its future is moving its headquarters to a larger facility in Davis, as was announced by the company Tuesday. The new office, laboratory and greenhouse space — 20 percent bigger than MBI’s current location at 2121 Second St. — is at 1530 and 1540 Drew Ave. in South Davis. Renovations are expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

The space was recently vacated by Bayer CropScience, which moved in July to a 164,000-square-foot campus in West Sacramento. Bayer CropScience bought AgraQuest, a company founded by Marrone, in 2012.

Earlier this month, MBI became the first company based in the region to put forth an initial public stock offering in more than five years. The IPO generated $56 million in net proceeds, which are not included in the second-quarter financial results.

“Going public was a significant milestone for our company,” Marrone said during a conference call Thursday. “We view this as an important step on our journey as we continue execute our vision of transforming pest management, and the way we feed the world.”

Another recent landmark was receiving two patents for herbicidal active ingredients: thaxtomin, which was patented in August, and sarmentine, in June. Both are ingredients in a bioherbicide product that’s being planned for market introduction.

Along with the three products that already have been commercialized by MBI, at least four more have been found promising in testing. The goal, Marrone said, is to release one to two products each year.

The local firm has hired new two new staff members — Alison Stewart, chief science officer, and Yuko Soneoka, chief patent counsel — to manage the company’s more than 100 employees and 25 potential products that are in development.

Marrone said MBI is well positioned to move forward, and that she’s satisfied with the progress made so far this year: “We are pleased with our second-quarter results and the recent completion of our IPO. During the quarter we saw ongoing robust demand for our environmentally responsible, bio-based products.

“Going forward, the demonstration of our pipeline products’ efficacy in the field, newly received patents and recent additions to our team position us favorably for continued growth in 2013 and beyond.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

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