Re-inventing how the world makes rubber

A collaboration between sustainable materials startup Visolis and Zeon Corporation has yielded the world’s first SIS block co-polymer made from 100% bio-isoprene monomers produced by Visolis. The collaboration began with a seed investment from Zeon Ventures and has blossomed into a close collaboration with our parent company.

The collaboration between Zeon Corporation and Visolis initially began with an investment from Zeon Ventures in Visolis’ seed round financing in December of 2022.  Visolis caught the attention of the Zeon Ventures due to the company’s unique technology platform combining synthetic biology and traditional chemical catalysis to tranform biomass into a portfolio of carbon negative materials and sustainable chemicals.

Following investment, the Visolis team worked quickly to demonstrate their capabilities to Zeon Corporation.  In early 2023, Visolis produced high-purity isoprene monomers from biomass sources using their proprietary process and supplied them to Zeon Corporation’s R&D team for testing. After positive evaluation results, Zeon used the bio-isoprene monomers produced by Visolis to successfully synthesize the world’s first SIS made from 100% biomaterals. This was the first step in the collaboration between Visolis and ZEON - but an important one - to demonstrate the potential of their process to produce bio-isoprene monomers for more sustainable isoprene rubber at scale. 

 Encouraged by these results and the strong potential for collaboration, Visolis and ZEON then began a deeper information exchange related to technical synergies and the feasibility of commercial-scale production.  This exchange included interactions with members of a cross-functional team from across Zeon's corporate strategy, R&D, plant operations, and sales divisions.

 In April 2024, Zeon Corporation and Visolis announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Visolis.  Under this agreement, the two companies will investigate the feasibility of commercializing bio-isoprene monomers and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Additionally, Zeon will begin providing evaluation samples to potential customers in markets with a high demand for bio-based materials like footwear, tires, etc.

 Our collaborative work together to commercialize sustainable bio-based materials and chemicals has just begun.  Both Zeon and Visolis are committed to continuing our collaboration for the betterment of the industry and the planet.

Styrene-Isoprene-Styrene (SIS) made from Visolis process combining AI, synbio, and traditional chemical catalysis