Synbio Powerlabs a leading Biotech company catalyzing the DNA-Economy by enabling the development of disruptive biotechnologies with precision fermentation, from lab-scale experiments to large scale pilot runs, is pleased to announce it has secured € 6.6 million funding for a unique biotechnology pilot plant for precision fermentation.
The Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy organization Business Finland (“Business Finland”) has granted €2.99 million in funding to Synbio Powerlabs for a pilot project specializing in precision fermentation and biotechnology. The state-of-the-art facility is part of a broad collaborative project to promote the next generation circular bioeconomy through biotechnology. To be built in Hämeenlinna, Southern Finland, it will enable companies and researchers to upscale biotechnology innovations to pre-commercial scale.
A US based investment company led by Alejandro Antalich, Nutrecon has secured an additional €3.61 million investment to complete the required capital to build the state-of-the-art facility.
“As a strong believer in Finland, its people, its talent and exceptional environment for innovation, we are very excited about the paramount step we have just taken becoming part of Synbio Powerlabs and joining forces with the prestigious Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy Organization Business Finland. Finland has become the main headquarters for consolidating and expanding our operations to create a new concept of sustainability, innovation and disruption, where science and business converge to make the impossible, possible. This is the first pillar to solidify the long-term relationship we aim to build working closely with Business Finland, anticipating more investments to accelerate the growth of the Company and other key projects we are developing in Finland, making Synbio Powerlabs a game changer in the synthetic biology industry. It is also an honour to start a close relationship with the City of Hämeenlinna, Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK and one of the most prestigious research institutions in the world, VTT, with whom we are starting this amazing journey, creating new and currently inexistent job opportunities, getting the interest from young generations, breaking paradigms and what most important, developing successful stories and highly profitable companies. The long tradition Finland has in the forest industry and strong know-how on biotechnology, allow us to accelerate the new industrial revolution from fossil-based to renewable future, while being strongly committed to a green transition, digitalisation and a carbon neutral circular economy. My personal and deepest admiration for Prime Minister Sanna Marin who said that Finland and its Nordic neighbours are the best places in the world to achieve the so-called American Dream, are the main driver for us to make her words become not just a dream, but the best reality a team of human beings can create”, commented Alejandro Antalich, CEO of Nutrecon and Chairman of Synbio Powerlabs.
Living cells can be harnessed to produce almost any substance imaginable. In a world struggling with the sustainability challenges of food production, the prospect of producing alternative proteins, from industrial and agricultural side streams, has been greeted with enthusiasm. But the potential for cell-based production does not stop there. Modifying microbes through biotechnology also enables the sustainable production of materials, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fuels.
"Finland has a strong position in this development and the new pilot will allow us to attract players from around the world”, commented Leena Lehtinen, Funding Advisor, Business Finland.
In recent years, innovations in cellular agriculture, synthetic biology and precision fermentation have often broken the new barriers. In Finland, startups have developed methods to make proteins from carbon dioxide in bioreactors, egg whites without chickens and cocoa without beans. Professor of synthetic biology Merja Penttilä sees the next growth coming in the production of materials and chemicals.
"With microbes, we can produce materials from sustainable feedstocks instead of fossil resources, such as plastics, textiles and dyes. Microbial production will also enable the creation of completely new materials”, commented Merja Penttilä, Professor, VTT and Aalto University.
However, even on a global scale, the development of the sector is suffering from the bottleneck caused by a lack of pilot plants, which has made it difficult for these biotechnology innovations to reach the market. Finland has a huge amount of know-how in this field and a pilot plant is a major step in taking business ideas forward.
"We have a huge amount of experience in cellular agriculture in Finland. Developing this know-how will create new export opportunities and growth for Finnish companies”, commented Emilia Nordlund, Research Manager, VTT.
The new plant in the Karanoja circular economy area in Hämeenlinna will combine biomass pre-treatment and precision fermentation.
"Getting a pilot plant in Hämeenlinna's Karanoja circular economy area is also a regionally significant event. Now the region will be a pioneering factor in the future of the circular economy. Synbio Powerlabs' new project shows that the circular economy area is a concrete platform and enabler of different innovations", commented Tero Helin, Development Director, Kiertokapula Oy.
A unique plant that also enables the utilization of side streams and waste as food for microbes. The plant is expected to serve all industry players, globally. During the year-long project preparation time the Company has thoroughly mapped the needs of the sector, engaging numerous research and development institutions, listed companies and start-ups. The bioreactors to be used in the facility are 10m3 (ten thousand liters) and 15m3 (fifteen thousand liters) size.
"In preparing the project, I have encountered sincere enthusiasm on a broad front. Companies, engineers and scientists want to be involved in the development of the pilot plant. Their expertise will help us create a unique facility”, commented Nina Pulkkis, CEO of Synbio Powerlabs.
Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK is closely involved in the project. A close cooperation will be established both through educational development and joint research projects.
"HAMK is actively increasing its expertise and enabling infrastructure in this biotechnology revolution. It is absolutely fantastic to have Synbio Powerlabs in the region and to continue the inspiring cooperation”, concluded Annukka Pakarinen, Research Director, HAMK.