Biotech CEO to get $750,000 bonus in DuPont deal

Dyadic International founder Mark Emalfarb. (Bill Ingram/The Palm Beach Post)

Dyadic International founder Mark Emalfarb. (Bill Ingram/The Palm Beach Post)

Mark Emalfarb, the founder of Jupiter-based Dyadic International, will get a $750,000 “discretionary cash award” if the company’s $75 million sale to industrial giant DuPont closes as scheduled.

Emalfarb’s legwork in finding a suitor “spared the company from having to pay a finder’s fee to an investment bank,” Dyadic said in a proxy statement. Emalfarb, the company’s founder, collects a salary of $425,000 a year.

The proxy gives new details about Dyadic’s financial struggles. From May 2014 to February 2015, the company approached dozens of investors in an effort to raise capital. Finding no takers, Dyadic made “a significant reduction in workforce” earlier this year.

Dyadic also said falling oil prices threaten its biofuel business. Dyadic’s enzymes can transform biowaste such as corn cobs, grass clippings and orange peels into so-called cellulosic ethanol. Through a fermentation Emalfarb likens to brewing beer, the enzymes break down plant waste and yield a brown, sugary syrup that can be turned into fuel.

But with oil at rock-bottom prices, the incentive to invest in biofuels has waned.

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