Qteros Cuts Staff, Including CEO, as Biofuels Business Struggles

11/17/11Follow @gthuang

It is a dark time for biofuels companies—and industrial biotech around Boston, more broadly.

Xconomy has learned that Qteros, a heavily funded developer of cellulosic ethanol technology based in Marlborough, MA, has laid off most of its staff, including its CEO John McCarthy. The news was reported earlier today by Dan Primack at Fortune. Xconomy received a tip yesterday from a source with knowledge of the company.

The source said that Qteros “couldn’t raise money” and was “reduced to a skeleton crew to sell anything of value.” Mick Sawka, who is listed on the company’s website as senior vice president, is the acting CEO, according to the source. Messages left with Qteros and Battery Ventures, one of the company’s lead investors, were not returned.

Qteros started in 2006 as SunEthanol (it changed its name in 2008), out of UMass Amherst. Its investors include Battery, Venrock Associates, Long River Ventures, Soros Fund Management, Camros Capital, Valero Energy, and BP. By our count, the company had raised nearly $30 million prior to its most recent financing, which was a $22 million Series C round announced at the beginning of this year.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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