CHICAGO — Sustainable Bioproducts, a biotechnology company developing a new way to grow edible protein, has raised $33 million in a Series A financing round led by 1955 Capital. Other participants in the funding include ADM Ventures, the venture investing arm of Archer Daniels Midland Co., and Danone Manifesto Ventures, the venture capital arm of Danone S.A.
Sustainable Bioproducts’ fermentation technology allows the growth of protein with high nutritional value and minimal impact on the environment, the company said. The technology stems from Sustainable Bioproducts’ research for NASA on extremophile organisms living in Yellowstone National Park’s volcanic springs, which thrive at extreme temperatures and multiply with limited resources. Sustainable Bioproducts is replicating the process in a laboratory and hopes to do so at a large scale.
“Curiosity and a passion for exploration led us to Yellowstone, one of the harshest ecosystems in the world,” said Thomas Jonas, founder and chief executive officer of Sustainable Bioproducts. “By observing how life optimizes the use of resources in this challenging environment, we have invented a way to make protein that is radically more efficient and gentler on our planet.”
Sustainable Bioproducts feeds food components such as starches or glycerin to the high-protein microbes, which then multiply and result in protein containing the nine amino acids considered essential to the human diet. The end product can be manipulated to resemble meat but may also be sweet, liquid or dairy-like, Mr. Jonas said.
“We have witnessed incredible growth in the demand for new proteins in recent years and believe Sustainable Bioproducts has the most compelling and efficient solution to satisfy this demand,” said Andrew Chung, managing partner of 1955 Capital. “This demand will not only come from the West, but from the developing world where the need for protein will become more severe.”