Global brewing group leads funding round for Swiss microbiome modulation startup

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/assalve
© GettyImages/assalve

Related tags microbiome Poultry bioactives

Global brewing group, Asahi, is the lead investor in a CHF 4.5m (US$4.87m) Series A financing round for Embion Technologies, a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).

Undisclosed private investors also participated in the funding round for the Swiss biotechnology company, which specializes in the extraction and formulation of functional nutrients – plant and microbial bioactives from industrial biomass – for use in human and animal health applications. 

"We see a huge future market in the whole field of upcycling industrial biomass. This area is one of the biggest drivers of transformation in the beverage and food industry. Embion is the leading innovation driver here,"​ said Manabu Sami, president and representative director of Asahi’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Asahi Quality and Innovations Ltd.

With the capital injection, Embion said it is now ready to scale its production capabilities to expand its business as well as continue securing IP in animal and human health and nutrition.

The company’s animal and human nutrition platforms are being expanded in equal measure, a spokesperson for Embion told FeedNavigator. 

A doubling of the company’s team size is planned within the next 18 months in its strategy to unlock multiple market opportunities.

Feed targeted innovation 

A hydrolyzed brewers’ spent grain ingredient with prebiotic properties, branded as Prembion, was the first commercial product to come out of Embion Technologies’ rapid prototyping platform. It was launched in July 2020.

Destined initially for the poultry industry, this product, which was placed on the EU Feed Materials Register in March 2020, is claimed to promote microbiome modulation, providing a new cost-effective option for producers looking for antibiotic alternatives.

The company said it is currently engaging with industry partners to grow the Prembion business. 

It told us last year that it has multiple products with microbiome modulation potential waiting in the wings, with it adding that its proprietary prototyping technology accelerates the time from discovery to commercial production by up to 80% – reducing a five-year development program to one year.

Founded in 2016, Embion aims to upcycle one million tons of biomass and save 100 million tons of CO2 by 2025.

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