Finnish biotech startup eniferBio recently announced that it has successfully raised €11M in a series A funding round. The funding was led by Aqua-Spark, a global aquaculture investment fund based in the Netherlands, with participation from Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment), Valio, Voima Ventures, and Nordic Foodtech VC.
eniferBio aims to use the freshly raised funding to scale up the production of its PEKILO® mycoprotein powder production to thousands of tons per year and seek Novel Food approval from the EU and other markets. PEKILO® is a fungus that can produce a dried powder rich in protein through a unique fermentation process. The powder has many usage cases, such as pet food and aquafeed.
Forestry industry experts in Finland initially created the manufacturing procedure in the 1960s to make protein for animal feed at a reasonable cost from waste streams from the pulp and paper industry. By-products from various agri-, food-, and forest industry activities are now upcycled by the Finnish Biotech Startup using the same, yet improved, unique technology and fermentation method to create PEKILO® mycoprotein.
Humans devoured 160 million metric tons of wild and farmed fish in 2021, according to Statista. Aquaculture production is the fastest-growing area of food production, which has surpassed the capture of wild fish and calls for vast quantities of brand-new, high-quality protein feeds. With Brazilian soybean output rising and expected to reach 152 million tons in 2021–2022, soy has become a popular component in animal feed.
For the European market, which is now highly dependent on imported soybeans, PEKILO® mycoprotein offers a sustainable option because it has a smaller carbon footprint than soybean. In addition, the business wants to develop a seamless bio-traceability platform that will automatically gather information and supply records for the safe beef systems developed by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
eniferBio has continuous collaborations with major players in the feed and food sectors, including Purina for pet food, Skretting for consumer food products, and the worldwide aquafeed subsidiary of Nutreco. In the following stage, it will collaborate with Valio, a well-known brand in Finland and a significant participant in the market for dairy components, to create consumer-friendly goods.
“Consumers are becoming more interested in new plant-based protein sources, and demand is rising globally. Therefore, we need innovative methods of food production that support the circular economy in addition to conventional food production methods. Modern research firm eniferBio has created novel strategies for using waste products from the food sector to produce protein. To fulfill the rising worldwide need for food, we aim to intensify our collaboration and take part in the creation of innovative methods of food production,” according to Tuomas Salusjärvi, Valio’s executive vice president for growth businesses and R&D.
The business is now prepared to expand its operations by constructing large-scale manufacturing facilities and requesting authorization to use mycoprotein in new goods and markets. “We have a product that transforms garbage from the present into a valuable element. In addition, we can provide the world’s most competitive protein manufacturing technique and a product that has been used for more than 15 years in industrial testing. Simo Ellilä, CEO and co-founder of eniferBio stated that the company is now prepared for the next stage of scaling up its manufacturing and product use cases.
Image provided by eniferBio