New CFO ready to help take Danish methane-to-protein player to next level

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Unibio
© Unibio
Unibio, a company producing a single cell protein for animal feed – Uniprotein – using methane as feedstock, has just made a new hire as it is set to ramp up production.

Jakob Brix Christensen is Unibio’s new chief financial officer (CFO). He takes on that new role from next month.

FeedNavigator caught up with him to get a sense of his ambition for Unibio, with that biotech firm only a few weeks away from going live with its first large-scale plant in collaboration with a partner - a multi-million-dollar project.

“I will work together with the Unibio management team and its board of directors to strengthen the finance function, and make sure the company is ready for the next phase,”​ said Christensen.

Background

Currently CFO at Nasdaq Copenhagen listed biotech company, BioPorto, he brings almost 15 years of experience from international life science companies to UniBio. Christensen also has ten years of experience as a financial adviser and accountant from Handelsbanken Capital Markets and Ernst & Young, and was part of the management team of Novozymes Biopharma - now Albumedix - and investor relations manager and US CFO at Origio.

“I was not in the market for a new job, but I was introduced to Unibio, and I met with the CEO, Henrik Busch-Larsen, and the chairman, JanBoeg Hansen. I thought the whole story, and the technology and vision of this company was very attractive. I believe there is an enormous market for Uniprotein. 

“All megatrends show a growing lack of protein-rich animal feed in the future, so when you have a technology that is able to convert natural gas into a feed protein, then that is something that can impact the world. 

jakob
Jakob Brix Christensen will be Unibio’s new chief financial officer (CFO) from May 2018.

“I thought it would be very interesting and fun to be part of this journey.”

Business model 

He said the idea is that he will become a strategic, trusted advisor for the business, to provide value added financial support, while acting as a sparring partner to the CEO to help develop the company.

Unibio currently has two revenue models – one that enables it to undertake licensing deals with partners and one where it co-invests in a production plant.

“We will look at the pros and cons of all future business models, all avenues will be explored,”​ he said, when asked about revenue generation options such as going down the IPO route.

“When you are a public company, though, it takes up some internal resources – more regulations to be complied with and that is something a small company has to take into consideration," ​he noted.

In the short term, the focus at Unibio will be on optimizing production and doing further product development work, he added. 

The Danish company’s fermentation system​, known as U-Loop Technology, enables natural gas conversion into a highly concentrated feed protein product.

Future vision 

Meanwhile, Unibio CEO, Busch-Larsen, recently told BioBased World News​, ​when the media outlet asked where the company will be in the next decade: "In ten years, Unibio will be an established player in the methane-to-protein market, having already brought hundreds of thousands of tons of Uniprotein to the world market. Uniprotein [will have] become a well-known protein product that is used widely in the compound feed industry."

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