Swiss microbiome modulation startup looks to investors to scale up

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Lumase
© GettyImages/Lumase

Related tags microbiome modulation brewers’ spent grains

Embion, a novel bioactives developer, has been awarded a grant of CHF250k (US$276k) from a Swiss public purpose fund, Foundation ALCEA, which it says will help it kick-off a Series A financing round in November.

Next month’s fundraising effort is aimed at scaling Embion Technologies’ product offerings across different markets.

Georgios Savoglidis, cofounder and CEO, Embion, which is a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), told us: “With the Series A funding we expect to raise a low double-digit million amount to scale up. We are in negotiations with partners globally allowing us to speed up market entries. Scale-up is already happening and will intensify when we manage to grow our Prembion footprint.”

A hydrolyzed brewers’ spent grain ingredient with prebiotic properties, Prembion is the first commercial product to come out of Embion Technologies’ rapid prototyping platform, and 80 more products with microbiome modulation potential are waiting in the wings.

It can be use in farmed animal feeds in general, but the company is targeting the poultry industry first. The product was placed on the EU feed materials list in March 2020.

Antibiotic alternative

This hydrolysis of brewers’ spent grains is claimed to promote microbiome modulation, providing a new cost-effective option for producers looking for antibiotic alternatives.

Embion told FeedNavigator in August this year that in vitro​ trials had shown Prembion to encourage the growth of bacteria that are considered beneficial for animal health. 

“These results are very promising as they help us to target the high potential area of microbiome modulation. More trials are planned to consolidate this evidence. There is also evidence to suggest that some of the nutrients contained within Prembion can boost overall animal health,” ​said Savoglidis back then.

For the next couple of years, the CEO said the animal health and nutrition market will account for a significant part of its operations. However, the company is also looking to penetration the human health and nutrition sectors. 

In early 2021, the bioactives producer is planning to expand its production capacities to be able to ramp up from 50 tons a year.

However, Embion is pursuing a flexible business model, said Savoglidis. “We can produce the product ourselves, or we can contract manufacture and sell to customers. We are also open to licensing models."

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