Sapphire appoints new CTO

San Diego, May 22, 2013 – Sapphire Energy, Inc., a company working on algae-based Green Crude oil production, today announced that Dr. Matthew Croughan will join the company as Chief Technology Officer. Dr. Croughan is a world renowned engineer and researcher in industrial bioprocessing, having most recently served as George B. and Joy Rathmann Professor and Director of the Amgen Bioprocessing Center at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium.

Croughan has also served as a member of Sapphire Energy’s Scientific Advisory Board since June 2012. In the newly created role of CTO, Dr. Croughan will guide the company in its effort to refine and scale its technologies and algae-to-energy process as it moves towards commercial scale production of Green Crude oil.

“In just five years, Sapphire Energy has established itself as a world leader in advanced, algae-to-energy biotechnologies and agriculture, which is why we’re so pleased to welcome Dr. Croughan, a highly regarded expert in the bioprocessing field, to our leadership team,” said Cynthia ‘CJ’ Warner, CEO and chairman of Sapphire Energy. “He has extensive experience in helping companies optimize their biological products and processes to better achieve scalability and maximize yields. We’ve been fortunate to have him on our advisory board, and now, as our CTO, he’ll play an integral role as we move closer to commercializing Green Crude production.”

Dr. Croughan established the KGI Bioprocessing Center in 2006, and developed a unique program to recruit and educate the next generation of business leaders in bioprocessing. Leveraging the help of his colleagues in the biotechnology industry who often serve as adjunct faculty, he built the program into one of the largest masters-level programs in bioprocessing, with approximately 100 graduates to date. Dr. Croughan recently won the Student Choice Faculty (Top Teaching) Award for 2012-2013, and will keep a limited role at KGI as Industry Professor while serving as CTO at Sapphire Energy. Since 1998, he also has worked as an independent consultant providing expert guidance on biopharmaceutical and biofuels process development and manufacturing to over 55 firms.

“Dr. Croughan has been an outstanding leader of this academic program. His attention to the students, from recruitment to alumni relations, is unsurpassed. He has built and maintained relationships that have greatly expanded our corporate network,” said James Sterling, Vice President for Academic Affairs at KGI.

Previously, Dr. Croughan was the chief scientist for Genentech’s cell culture facility in Vacaville, CA, built for the production of therapeutic antibodies. Earlier in his career at Genentech, he developed the first licensed fed-batch cell culture process, a breakthrough platform technology now used throughout the biopharmaceutical industry, especially for the economical production of high-dose blockbuster antibodies. Dr. Croughan has a Ph.D. from MIT and a BS from UC Berkeley, both in chemical engineering.

Source: Sapphire Energy