News Releases

Sumitomo Chemical and Zymergen Announce Partnership to Develop Renewable Specialty Materials

Apr. 17, 2019

EMERYVILLE, Calif. and Tokyo, April 17th --Sumitomo Chemical and Zymergen announced today they have signed a multi-year partnership to bring new specialty materials to the market. This collaboration between the two companies will enable the development of new materials to meet consumer trends in high-tech industries.

Today, electronics makers and consumers seek devices that are lighter, smaller, more battery efficient, have optimized displays, and new functionality– all at a lower cost. Electronics manufacturers are increasingly demanding next-generation materials for these next-generation electronics because the current petrochemical toolbox is limited, expensive, and difficult to manufacture.

In order to better meet these demands, Sumitomo Chemical has decided to partner with Zymergen, who’s mission is to build a sustainable future through biology, to discover novel and improved molecules to bring to market competitive, high-performance, specialty materials to better serve the electronics industry and more. This partnership will leverage Zymergen’s proprietary platform which combines advances in artificial intelligence, robotic lab automation, and cutting-edge genomics, to unlock previously inaccessible sources of molecular diversity based on sustainable and renewable resources.

Sumitomo Chemical is a leading supplier to major electronics companies, with approximately 20 percent of the company’s sales revenue in IT-related Chemicals. The company’s industry insight will ensure that materials meet application requirements that will drive the next generation of electronics products. Sumitomo Chemical brings access to key markets, a reputation for quality and excellence, and the applications knowledge to connect new materials to the best products.

Sumitomo Chemical and Zymergen will develop specialty materials that may include optical films for displays, hard coatings that won’t scratch, flexible electronics circuits and adhesive materials. These new materials can help make next-generation, high tech products a reality for consumers.

“We are honored to partner with Sumitomo Chemical and see this as an opportunity to drive real innovation in the consumer electronics space,” said Richard Pieters, President, Products at Zymergen. “This cooperation unites the best of both worlds with Zymergen’s expertise exploring the molecular diversity of biology to make new polymers and materials, and Sumitomo Chemical’s technology leadership in serving the most demanding markets and unique insights in next-generation materials”

“Partnering with Zymergen combines our chemical technologies with their expertise in molecular diversity of biology that will allow us to develop high-performance materials to meet customer demand,” said Hiroshi Ueda, Vice President at Sumitomo Chemical. “Through molecular biology we will be able to deliver our customers performance capabilities not previously possible by reliably and cost-effectively engineering biology.”

Together, Sumitomo Chemical and Zymergen will work to develop new and unique materials, making the impossible possible for the electronics industry and beyond.

About Sumitomo Chemical Company Limited

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sumitomo Chemical is one of Japan’s leading chemical companies, offering a diverse range of products globally in the fields of petrochemicals, energy and functional materials, IT-related chemicals and materials, health and crop science products, and pharmaceuticals. The company’s consolidated net sales for fiscal year 2017 were JPY 2.2 trillion and number of employee is about 32,000 as of March 31, 2018.  For additional information, visit the company’s website at

About Zymergen

Zymergen is the world’s first molecular manufacturing technology company ushering in a new age of manufacturing and industrial innovation. Zymergen, a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer, leverages the power of machine learning, automation, and bioengineering, to take a radically different approach to improving the performance of materials and to discovering new molecular products that touch every industry – from agriculture to chemicals and materials, pharmaceuticals, and more. The technology is in use today, creating value for Fortune 1000 companies and major corporations across the globe. For more information visit


  • Sumitomo Chemical
    Corporate Communications Dept.


  • Zymergen
    Angela Allison