Industrial biotechnology's fabrication partner, Liberation Labs, secured $30 million in equipment financing to advance its first commercial-scale biomanufacturing facility in Richmond, Indiana. Groundbreaking for the new facility is scheduled for June, with a fermentation capacity of 600,000 liters and a fully dedicated downstream process (DSP). The plant is expected to begin production by the end of 2024.
Liberation Labs is working to make bioproducts for a range of customers, from established consumer packaged goods and ingredient brands to cutting-edge fermentation startups. The new facility – the first commercial-scale precision fermentation plant in the US – is well underway. Detailed design engineering is finished, and orders for major equipment, like 150,000 liter fermenters and separation/drying units, have been placed. This expansion includes growing the company's engineering and operations teams.
This new financing, combined with their seed raise, enables the company to acquire all the essential equipment and invest in their team to propel the whole project ahead. Liberation Labs raises the worldwide supply of bio-based consumer goods and reduces costs by fabricating and distributing them within the US. Famous for biomanufacturing capacity in Europe, sourcing from there is cost-prohibitive due to production and shipping expenses.
"This new financing, combined with our seed raise, allows us to not only secure all the needed equipment but also to continue investing in our team to move the overall project forward at speed," said Mark Warner, co-founder and CEO of Liberation Labs. "Traditionally, it is challenging to secure this kind of funding for a first-of-a-kind facility, but this lease financing reflects the belief in our vision and strong team by our committed equity and equipment finance investors."
The facility comes at a time of increasing focus on the importance of a domestic biorefining industry and the need for significant projects. In September 2022, President Biden launched a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative designed to stimulate development, create domestic jobs, build more robust supply chains, and lower costs for Americans. The new facility, the first in the US fully dedicated to novel bioproducts, could catalyze market demand, commercializing innovation among food, chemical, and materials biotechnology companies and their associated economic, health, and environmental benefits.