Our mission


Unmet needs & potential customers

Each year an estimated 2 to 3 million tons of non-degradable, fossil-based plastics are used in agriculture1. These plastics are crucial for safeguarding our crop yields. However, they degrade into microplastics that make their way into our food and our bodies. Research has already found adverse effects of this on human health2. The extent of the harmful effects is not yet known, nonetheless, it is an absolute necessity to PHAse Out non-degradable plastics from agriculture and remove microplastics from our food.

Despite this urgent need, there are currently no sustainable and cost competitive biodegradable plastics for agricultural use on the market3. Given that biodegradability is a highly attractive characteristic for plastics in agriculture4, this is a large unmet need.

Having consulted plastic regulation experts and farmers, we have detected a growing need and market for affordable and sustainable polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). Through discussing our future plans with industry experts and production facilities, we have established a possible path for taking our PHA from research to large-scale production.


Visualization PHA
Fig. 1 | Visualization of the production of our PHA. Methanol is produced from renewable energy sources, and is fed to M. extorquens to produce PHA-based agricultural products.

Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 can produce PHA polymers with various properties. This versatility makes it suitable for multiple applications, enhancing its market potential. Because PHAse Out will be focused on research and development (R&D) and will specialize in optimizing the PHA production strain(s), we would require help with the production, and sales of the final product. This is why we have decided on horizontal merger as our exit strategy. With the horizontal merger transaction, PHAse Out will be able to make use of pre-established facilities and customer bases, while giving the other company the most efficient and well-researched PHA production strain.

Exit strategy

    Despite having established that there is an unmet need and a growing market for sustainable PHA, we learned from stakeholders that setting up a PHA production company in the Netherlands ourselves may prove too challenging to be realistically implementable. Firstly, the Dutch bioplastics market is highly competitive, with numerous established players including companies that are already working with PHA5, 6. This creates intense financial and technological demands for market entry, which require financial and operational resources that could be very difficult to access. Moreover, the Netherlands has enforced stringent environmental regulations, particularly in waste management and sustainability, necessitating substantial compliance efforts and investments. As such, we would ideally horizontally merge with a company that already has an established customer base and production facilities.

    However, if a horizontal merger is not possible, we plan on pursuing a proof-of-concept and patent this as a more pragmatic and cost-effective strategy. This approach would enable us to seek more manageable initial investment, allowing focus on research and development instead of extensive production facilities. After we have completed our proof-of-concept, we would patent our PHA production strains and possible associated technologies. This would safeguard our innovation and give us control over its use and licensing. After patenting, we intend to license our PHAse Out technology to existing bioplastics producers or partners. This alternative and more streamlined strategy would allow us to generate revenue without the challenges and costs of running a production company.

To improve environmental and social sustainability, we will re-invest part of our profits for social entrepreneurship initiatives in developing countries. The aim of this is to address critical issues such as food safety, poverty, and environmental sustainability. Through this approach, we sidestep the market entry challenges and align our business plan with our broader sustainability goals, creating a meaningful global impact.


    Plastics in agriculture

    The plastic industry is gradually recognising the need for biodegradable plastics, reflecting an increasing awareness of the environmental toll of traditional plastics7. While this is clearly a positive step towards sustainability, the current state of biodegradable plastic production is far from perfected. Manufacturers face challenges, including finding the right balance between durability and degradability, ensuring cost-effectiveness, and scaling up production. In our case this would be facilitated thanks to M. extorquens which can produce co-polymers that are suitable to use for bioplastic applications. As consumer demand for eco-friendly alternatives continues to grow, PHAse Out's PHA production will gain momentum, paving the way for a greener and cleaner future.

    Regulations on plastics

    In 2022, the EU brought forward a green deal to reduce the amount of plastics. This deal includes eliminating unnecessary packaging, limiting over-packaging and providing clear labeling to improve correct recycling. This law aims to reduce packaging waste by 15% by 20408. Additionally, on the 25th of September 2023, the EU brought forward a new restriction regarding microplastics stating that "any synthetic polymer particles below five millimeters that are organic, insoluble and resist degradation" may not intentionally be added to products9. These include for example cosmetics, fertilizers, glitter, plant protection products, medical devices, medicines, fertilizer coating and many others9. For the plastic industry, this means that new business opportunities will arise, especially for small companies such as start-ups. PHAse Out intends to capitalize on this movement by producing plastic that meets the new regulations. Our main target sector for biodegradable PHA is the agricultural sector. Plastics in soil break down into microplastics that pollute the environment. Given the inherent properties of PHA, the material is ideal to make for example mulch films or slow-release fertilizer coatings. As the time of biodegradation lies between 6-10 weeks, the plastic will serve its use, but not stay behind in the form of plastic waste or micro-/nanoplastics10. This makes PHA a great candidate for use in the agricultural sector.

    Need for environmentally friendly production

    Although we would need to conduct a complete Life Cycle Assessment upon launching PHAse Out as a start-up, we can already see that certain aspects of our production reduce the carbon footprint compared to regular production of PHA. We cater to the demand for environmentally friendly products by utilizing green methanol as the carbon source for PHA production (Figure 1). PHA is typically produced in Escherichia coli using carbon sources such as sucrose, glucose, or starch11. This causes competition with our food production12. Additionally, expanding the production of plastics using sugar would further agricultural expansion, which causes deforestation13. More about this can be read on our Sustainable Development Impact page . This is why PHAse Out uses green methanol, as it allows for a carbon neutral production process that does not compete with resources needed for food production.

What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) serves as an instrument to evaluate the potential environmental consequences across the entire lifespan of a product. This includes activities such as acquiring natural resources, production, utilization, and waste management, including disposal and recycling. An LCA contributes to preventing the transfer of problems from one life cycle phase to another or from one type of environmental impact to another14.

Next we will look at three models that help us map the potential market sizes and shares of PHAse Out, thereby assessing the investment opportunity.

Total Addressable Market

The Total Addressable Market (TAM) is the total revenue potential for a product or service when capturing the entire market share15. We assume that PHA produced by PHAse Out can be used and manufactured for many applications that are currently produced and sold. The TAM was valued at over US$ 85 million for the PHA market in 202116. The market is predicted to show over 10.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2022 and 2030, and will reach a market value of 220 million in 203016. The CAGR is used to measure how a specific market/company will grow over a certain period of time, while taking into account the effect of compounding growth. The future of the PHA market looks promising with opportunities in the packaging and food service, biomedical, agriculture, wastewater treatment, cosmetic, 3D printing, and chemical addictive sectors. The major drivers for this market are the growing demand for biodegradable polymers and the significant application possibilities for PHA17.

Serviceable Available Market

The Serviceable Available Market (SAM) is the proportion of the TAM targeted by our product that is within geographical reach15. By looking at our timeline of key activities below, we aim to sell PHA by 2032. In 2032, the market for PHA is forecasted to have grown significantly, with the largest segment being present in Europe and the second largest segment being Northern America. The expected market for PHA by 2030 is valued at $120 million in Europe and $100 million for Northern America16. This makes the TAM for PHAse Out $220 million in 2030.

Serviceable Obtainable Market

The Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) is an estimate of the available revenue from a market sector that a company is able to obtain15. In this case, PHAse Out would be located in the Netherlands which is ideal for capturing the European market. We would first establish ourselves within the Netherlands before attempting to expand further into Europe. The Dutch obtainable market for plastics is currently valued at around $9.6 billion18. Bioplastics make up around 2.5% of the plastic sector19, meaning that there is a current potential of $240 million in the Netherlands for bioplastics. Of these $240 million, 7% of bioplastics used in the Netherlands are PHA20, leaving a total of $16.8 million for the SOM of PHA we could currently achieve expanding into the European market.

Feasibility, scalability & inventiveness

Our PHA project is built upon a foundation of key features that are essential for ensuring the success and sustainability of our bioplastic solution. These characteristics form the basis of our position in PHA as an innovative and effective alternative for various agricultural applications. Our integrated human practices validate the capabilities of our PHA, demonstrating its potential to outperform existing solutions in the field. Additionally, we are closely monitoring the progress of our competitors in the bioplastics industry, such as PHAradox, who are also advancing PHA biodegradable materials. By conducting a comprehensive SWOT analysis (as shown in Figure 2), we have actively evaluated our project's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to ensure that we remain at the forefront of sustainable materials development.

Fig. 2 | SWOT-analysis of PHAse Out.

We also compare our PHA bioplastic to the alternative biodegradable plastics. The advantages of our PHA can be seen in the competitive analysis grid below (Figure 3).

Bioplastics table
Fig. 3 | Competitive Analysis Grid comparing different types of plastics and their characteristics21-35. The green tick shows when a criterium is met, the blue minus means that a criterium is not optimally fulfilled and the pink cross shows that a criterium was not met.


Here you can read about our direct, indirect, and future competitors and their advantages and disadvantages.

Direct competitors are businesses that offer similar products or services to the same target market as your own business. In our case, it seems that there are many direct competitors as many companies try to produce PHA using renewable feedstocks or waste streams. Below you can find a list of companies that also produce PHA bioplastics.

Indirect competitors are companies that offer different products or services but target the same or similar customer segments and fulfill similar customer needs or desires. In our case, indirect competitors are producers of other bioplastics such as PLA and PBS but also conventional plastic producers. Below we have compiled a list of companies that would be our indirect competitors. They are currently the top producers of bioplastics, and hold wide sections of the market share.

  • TotalEnergies Corbion: Producer of biobased PLA plastics.
  • Mitsubishi Chemical: Produces a variety of (bio-)polymers and resins.
  • Eastman: Provides sustainable plastics such as coatings and adhesives.
  • Futamura: Focuses on producing plastic films such as cellulose films.
  • NatureWorks: Produce polymers that are low-carbon alternatives to petrochemical-based plastics and fibers.
  • Polymateria: Makes plastics that can degrade to wax in nature or be recycled.
  • Tipa: Provides compostable packaging.
  • Biome Bioplastics: Produces bioplastics for various applications.

Future competitors are competitors that will emerge in the (near) future. We will very likely face such competition from emerging players in the biodegradable plastics and agricultural sector. As sustainability is an increasingly vital aspect of agriculture and environmental conservation, more companies and research groups may venture into developing biodegradable materials. These future competitors could bring new, innovative technologies and perhaps alternative biodegradable materials to the market, intensifying the competitive landscape. It could also be the case that future competitors develop an even more efficient PHA production method compared to ours. To stay ahead, our project should continually innovate, focus on cost-effectiveness, and emphasize the unique benefits of our PHA production process, such as its renewable feedstock source and its advantages over other biodegradable plastics.

To be able to compete in the field, we will focus on building strong partnerships and collaborations within the agricultural and bioplastics industries. Government regulatory agencies also play a pivotal role in helping our project stay ahead of the competition by implementing and enforcing policies that favor the use of sustainable and biodegradable materials in agriculture. As applications expert Jesse Hiemstra pointed out, “The attractiveness of PHA products relies greatly on the support of the government.” Click here to read more expert interviews on the topics of business and applications. This governmental support creates a supportive regulatory environment for our product compared to less sustainable and environmentally friendly competitors.

Product development plans

We have carefully considered our plans for growth. In our business model, you can see a clear overview of our development plans, including the resources and key activities involved (Figure 4).

Bussiness Model
Fig. 4| Business Model Canvas displaying the overall structure and activities of PHAse Out.

Below, you can find a timeline (Figure 5) displaying the essential activities for our Serviceable Obtainable Market. These key activities represent steps that PHAse Out needs to complete over time in order to successfully start a business.

Fig. 5| Key Activities of PHAse Out in chronological order.

In the business model below, each individual key activity from Figure 5 is outlined in more detail.

Business model

    Key activities

    iGEM serves as the cornerstone of our project, providing the initial spark and framework for the development of the project. The first research on our production strain was performed during our work for iGEM, leaving us with promising results.

    Access funding
    Securing financial resources is the initial step to support our PHA project. It enables us to participate in the iGEM competition, conduct research, acquire materials, and, later on, cover operational costs. During the iGEM competition we have done this through our crowdfunding and via sponsorships . For scaling our project after iGEM, we can apply for funds as described in our section on financials. Eventually we will require larger investments to allow large scale production.

    Proof of concept complete
    In this step, we validate the feasibility of our production process and test its effectiveness in generating biodegradable plastics. We test the biodegradability of our agricultural product(s) to ensure it meets the wishes and demands of customers. This key activity ensures our technology works as intended.

    Register the company & patenting
    Establishing a legal entity and patenting our PHA production technology safeguards our intellectual property and allows us to operate as a legitimate business.

    Horizontal merger + R&D
    Exploring partnerships or mergers with companies specializing in related technologies can accelerate our research and development efforts, leading to quicker progress.

    Access large bioreactors and facilities
    Gaining access to bioreactors and large-scale research facilities is crucial for optimizing PHA production processes and scaling up our operations efficiently.

    Scaling up our production is a pivotal step to meet market demands, and is generally required to improve cost-effectiveness of a process. This involves transitioning from lab-scale production to industrial-scale manufacturing.

    Produce PHA
    The core activity is producing PHA on a large scale, utilizing the optimized processes and facilities established during earlier stages.

    Establish distribution channels
    Building distribution networks and partnerships ensures that our PHA-based products reach customers effectively and efficiently.

    Marketing of PHAse Out
    Promoting our product as an eco-friendly alternative to conventional plastics helps PHAse Out environmentally harmful materials from the market while increasing awareness of our brand and mission.

    Sell to target audience
    Identifying and reaching out to our target audience, such as agricultural businesses seeking sustainable alternatives to plastics, is vital for market penetration.

    This business plan will help keep in mind the different goals and milestones to build a successful business. All of these steps however cannot be carried without help, which is why we have identified key partners we would collaborate with below.

    Key partners

    We need several key partners for the development of our company. To start, Luris, the Knowledge Exchange Office for Leiden University, can provide help with trademarking, registration, and offer additional guidance on intellectual property. Additionally, Unlock_ is situated at the Leiden Bio Science Park and stands out as the sole startup incubator in the Netherlands specialized in Life Sciences and Health. They provide startup support, structure, programs, network and the instruments that startups need to turn an idea into a solution. Working with Unlock_ will make sure that our business gets off to a strong start. Additionally, we will require lab space. We might be able to get such lab space from DSM (Biotech Campus Delft), a biotechnology center in Delft which could provide the necessary R&D facilities for PHAse Out, as recommended by Stéfan Ellenbroek . Leiden University and TU Delft already have many ties and collaborations, which facilitates requesting workspace from DSM for a Leiden University-associated project. Additionally, we will require more raw materials, therefore we may collaborate with several businesses on this. Given that they have a wide selection of items, SigmaAldrich is a wise choice during the R&D phase. Later, we will move to providers such as Univar Solutions to buy in bulk for the production phase. Additionally, bioreactors are required for the generation of PHA. Bioreactors that can be customized and sold sterile are made by Sartorius, but may also be obtained through a horizontal merger or ideally from Leiden University. To stay up to date with current regulations on bioplastics we should partner with the RIVM.

    Key resources

    Readily available resources will make the decisive difference in the success of our business. The first and most important resource at our disposal is the team that put together the initial elements of PHAse Out. The experience, knowledge and advisory board in addition to the hard work of the team-members and supervisors will be key in bringing our PHA to the market.

    Our unique method for producing and extracting PHA is also important as without it, we could not meet our stakeholders' needs, nor would we have any value propositions. To keep constantly improving our product, we'll have to test it with real stakeholders and improve it. We will need input from farmers and researchers who know about user experience. We also need funding, and that's where organizations that give grants come in. Also, we need lab space and materials for both our R&D and commercial activities. PHAse Out relies on the support of Leiden University, both financially and for their well-established reputation. They also have expertise on intellectual property together with PLNT, which will be of great help. As we start selling our product, we will need help with business and sales, which we can acquire from places like PLNT and Unlock_. Lastly, we'll need expertise on supply chains as this is a crucial aspect of product distribution.

    Research and development

    We have several experiments planned out to develop and optimize our strain when we have acquired funding for future research and development after iGEM. In our discussion with Prof. Dr. Han de Winde , professor in biotechnology, he recommended focusing on increasing methanol tolerance of our strain by directed evolution. Allowing for higher methanol concentrations in industrial scale bioreactors will lower production costs and potentially gain higher yields. Secondly, he recommended to integrate enzymes from different metabolic PHA pathways into M. extorquens to allow for co-polymer composition of PHA with properties optimally suited to the market demand. Finally, he recommended investigating the possibilities to transfer the PHB-pathway to more robust microbes with well established industrial applications. A specifically interesting microbe is Ogataea polymorpha (O. polymorpha), a methylotrophic, robust yeast which has been used for the last 30 years in biotechnology for synthesis of a variety of compounds36. Integrating the PHB-cycle of M. extorquens into O. polymorpha is promising in terms of industrial applications. However, he also stated that transferring the desired property of the high PHA accumulation of M. extorquens might give complications. This final strategy is suggested if industrial scale cultivation of M. extorquens would be found non-feasible.

    Value proposition

    The value of our PHA lies in its green, cost-effective properties in addition to the social entrepreneurship aspect of our business. PHAse Out's PHA is biodegradable and made from green methanol as opposed to sugars, making it a sustainable alternative production path. The social entrepreneurship aspect will make PHAse Out a more desirable company to be associated with when purchasing materials, thus making it a valuable asset to the reputation of the company. PHA as a material is customizable and can thus be adapted to fit many different applications. Scaling up the production is possible given our location and connections. This alternative production will reduce the dependency on fossil fuels to produce plastics. Additionally, PHA has good regulatory compliance, as it does not leave microplastics in the environment and complies with various other environmental regulations and sustainability standards. Thanks to the biodegradable properties of PHA, we will have cost-savings in the long-term with regards to reduced disposal costs and better brand reputation. The innovative aspect of both the production and the product itself will give us an edge upon entering the market.

    Customer relations

    Companies manufacturing PHA will be the main revenue stream for our business. We will aim for long-term relationships with large manufacturers of PHA, that will make the bioplastics into any desired product. We will eventually provide highly competitive prices due to the efficiency of our PHA strain , meaning that there will be a transactional relationship with end-users, as products can be more affordable. Although we will primarily promote our PHA to mulch-film producers and fertilizer-granule companies, we would collaborate with other companies that aim to make their product more sustainable by switching to PHA-based alternatives.


    Our company will set up communications, sales and distribution channels. Adequate communication will ensure that we can reach our customers and deliver our value proposition. Communication will be key in first making proposals to investors and later making sales to customers. This can be done by joining conferences, holding lectures and joining networking events. Distribution will be carried out by an external party, as we would only specialize in the production of PHA.

    Customer segments

    Our main customer segment consists primarily of companies that will use our PHA to manufacture products for the agricultural sector due to its optimal application in that field. Potential customers would be companies such as Yara, a fertilizer company based in the Netherlands or Oerlemans Plastics, a company that produces biodegradable mulch films. The second segment consists of actual farmers who purchase our PHA-containing plastic tools and equipment for crop enhancement. Other potential buyers are agricultural packaging suppliers, who provide packaging for foods that need to be stored until they reach the end-consumer. Additionally, retailers and distributors may be interested in selling out PHA, once we reach a good market price. Lastly, ecologically aware consumers would be interested in our PHA, due to its environmentally friendly properties, no matter what their intended application may be.

    Cost structure

    In terms of costs, our main expense would be R&D. Before being able to make PHA, we will further optimize our strain for most efficient PHA production. Then we would require funds to patent our strain and register our company. To pursue social entrepreneurship, we will finally support agricultural systems that would benefit from, for example mulch films, with our optimized PHA production method. Mulch films would for example be extremely useful in arid or semi-arid regions, as they increase both soil temperature and crop yields, and reduce evaporation37.

    Revenue streams

    In the short term, our project will be funded mostly by R&D grants. To support our efforts in research and development, we should be eligible for grants or funding from public or private organizations. Partnering and collaborating with universities, research institutions, or other organizations of a similar nature for shared research projects or product development is another way to secure funding in the short term. These collaborations may generate revenue through grants or shared product sales.
    In the medium term, we could generate revenue by licensing out our PHA production strain and knowledge to other businesses that are interested in producing PHA.

    In the long-term, our revenue will stem from the direct sales of PHA to all

Intellectual property

To fully operate as a company, we will register PHAse Out with the KvK (Chamber of Commerce). In addition to registration opportunities, they also provide support in terms of steps to take and important information such as which tax regulations apply and how to conduct market research38.

Furthermore, to file a patent for our strain, we require significant advancement in PHA production39. We would attempt to file a patent for our strain after conducting all necessary R&D steps and having reached the highest possible efficiency in terms of production rate.

There are currently alternative methods of producing PHA, and filing for a patent may be risky as we would have to publish every modification made to our strain. This means it would be possible for other companies to make changes or replicate a version of our strain that does not legally fall under the patent.

This is a risk we would be willing to take, as a horizontal merger is part of our strategy. Thus, our production method would have the additional protection of an established company. In case we do not find a suitable company for a horizontal merger, as described in our Long Term Impacts, the patent would ensure that we could safely license out our strain, without concern for intellectual property theft.

Fig. 6 | Financial timeline of expenses and revenue of PHAse Out until 2042.


In the risk assessment (Table 1), all key activities that carry a risk with them are outlined. It contains the phase from the business model as well as the associated risk and the possible solutions to minimize or eliminate that risk.

Table 1 | Risk Assessment

Phase Risk Solution
Access funding No access to grants/loans Attend more networking events, pitch our product to potential sponsors, find international grants and funds
Proof of concept Unsatisfactory proof of concept Investigate cause of unsatisfactory PoC & improve accordingly
Horizontal Merger No suitable company Attend more networking events, contact companies personally and request in-person meetings
R&D Slow R&D or low efficiency PHA production Engage more specialists and researchers for suggestions on optimizing M. ext. strains for maximum PHA production efficiency
Access bioreactors & other necessary facilities Necessary facilities not available Outsource to another company (networking)
Scale-up Not reaching desired scale Request help from experts, scale-up more/less to meet demand and maximize profit
Production Insufficient production for demand Increase scale of production
PHA sale to (fertilizer) companies PHA demand too low Improve marketing strategies and access international markets
Marketing of PHAse Out Marketing does not reach desired audience Change outreach strategy, be more present across all relevant communication/advertisement channels

Given the nature of our exit strategy, most of the funding is required for the production of the PHA, which will take place after we have merged with another company and accessed the necessary facilities.

We can roughly calculate the cost of our PHA with the following equation, which we confirmed during our talks with experts.

Based on our production efficiency:​

Profit (1 ton PHA) = (Sales Price PHA - Methanol - Production) * Efficiency of Optimized M. extorquens​ strain

Although it is hard to provide a representative number for the R&D stage of a business, we estimated the average cost of our R&D to $2.6 Million, based on similar PHA production companies40. Given that we have already conducted preliminary research, we estimate we would be left with an amount of up to $2.4 Million.

The discovery phase of our project, which includes the iGEM phase and the completion of the proof of concept, will mostly be financed by Family, Friends and Fools (FFF) and any interested sponsors. Additionally, the University provides certain funding for research projects. For the later stages of our then business, we will require larger funds as can be given by further crowdfunding, business angels or grants.

We currently have the best chances of receiving funds from the Enterprise Leiden Fonds Pre-Seed, as we have been in contact with them and they are associated with Leiden University. This loan is meant for early-stages of start-ups, where funds can be harder to get. It would also be in our interest to apply to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency for further funding. They support entrepreneurs and organizations and provide connections to investors and potential business partners. We may also ask for funding from the NWO, the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research. As we are an upcoming business, we could apply for an amount between €50.000 to a maximum of €280.000.

Additionally, it may also be of interest to connect with firms such as YARA, who, with stricter regulations on plastics and microplastics, will need biodegradable alternatives to conventional plastic in the upcoming years.

As our company progresses and shows more potential, we may raise funds through venture capital or in general private equity. The starting ​ amount when applying for the venture capital fund for financing lies at €200.000 in exchange for shares41. The actual investment then lies between €1-3 Million. As the aim of such venture capital is to achieve the highest possible return on investment, only the most promising proposals are selected41. However, we have good chances of receiving such a grant, as we have already shown significant progress in the research department.

Skills, capabilities & stakeholders

PHAse Out requires a strong foundation of capabilities and skills to build a business within the bioplastics industry. When considering the R&D aspect that is at the core of our project, we have the advantage that our team members possess a deep understanding of molecular biology, genetic engineering, and biotechnology. Proficiency in laboratory techniques, data analysis, and project management is equally essential for executing experiments and achieving project goals. Moreover, effective communication and collaboration skills are crucial for engaging with stakeholders, analyzing research findings, and marketing our product to potential buyers. In addition to our team members, we have the knowledge of our supervisors and advisory board which has been and will be key in researching the best strain. Lastly, the wide network of Leiden University will provide support in terms of reputation and potential other skills we will need in the future.

PHAse Out team

Our team is made of 13 people with various backgrounds in the hard and social sciences. Detailed information about the specializations of each team member can be found on our Team page . The various nationalities within our team help us in adopting different perspectives and give potential footholds for our start-up. Additionally, we have had great support from our supervisors, who have provided their profound knowledge, experience and skill both in the field of synthetic biology and in coordinating a team project of 13 people. Many issues could be solved thanks to their advice and we were able to move forward at a steady pace.

With this team and support, we are sure to be successful in making PHAse Out into a profitable start-up.


Keeping in mind the interest of the different stakeholders is key when navigating an upcoming company. In the stakeholder map below, we have visualized the interest of each stakeholder and mapped it against the impact they could have on PHAse Out.

stakeholder map
Fig. 7| Stakeholder map weighing the Interest of certain stakeholders against their power.

Different stakeholders have different opinions about our project. This is visualized in the Stakeholder matrix:

PHAse Out stakeholders

Long-term impacts

To have a holistic view on the effect our project would have over time, we elaborate on the long term direct and indirect effects of our project, as well as the social entrepreneurship aspect.

The direct effects of our project would first and foremost be the lessened negative impact of plastics on the environment along its life cycle42. PHA, when degraded, does not leave behind microplastics, which is favorable for both the environment as well as for all life on land. The indirect impact is that we would boost the market for green methanol and perhaps lessen the price gap between green methanol and gray methanol.

A major risk also described in our risk assessment, as shown in Table 1 is that we may not find a suitable company for horizontal merger. In this case, we would adapt our strategy to licensing out our optimized PHA strain after patenting it, as we would not require PHAse Out to merge with another company for facilities and resources. In this case, we could even take technology transfer into consideration to uphold the social entrepreneurship aspect of our project.

In the long-term, our project aims to support sub-goals of both Sustainable-Development Goals 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, as well as 15: Life on Land. In-depth information about these goals can be found on our Sustainable Development Impact Page . With both the production of PHA and our social entrepreneurship, we hope to improve agricultural systems and leave behind a cleaner world.

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