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Animal-free egg protein startup Onego Bio is one step nearer to cracking the normal egg market

In 2023, higher egg prices offered a possibility for various protein corporations to indicate they may compete with conventional egg producers.

A 12 months later, costs have calmed down, however the flurry of exercise in creating extra sustainable egg merchandise continues to thrive. One place seeing a flurry of exercise is Onego Bio, a Finland-based food-biotech firm, which makes use of the fungus Trichoderma reesei and precision fermentation to create an animal-free egg white various referred to as Bioalbumen.

Maija Itkonen, co-founder and CEO of Onego Bio (pronounced on-eh-go), spun off the corporate with precision fermentation skilled Christopher Landowski from VTT (Technical Analysis Heart of Finland) in 2022.

Maija Itkonen, Christopher Landowski, Onego Bio, animal-free egg protein.

Onego Bio co-founders Maija Itkonen and Christopher Landowski. Picture Credit: Onego Bio

Itkonen informed TechCrunch that the corporate’s patented fungal fermentation expertise course of allows it to provide 120 grams per liter in 250,000-liter fermentation vessels. At this capability, Onego Bio is near reaching aggressive worth factors to conventional methods of creating egg proteins, she added.

Onego Bio claims Bioalbumen is “bioidentical” to ovalbumin, which is the main protein in hen egg white. It additionally accommodates all important amino acids and is high-protein: 90 grams per 100 grams of egg white. As well as, the corporate can produce it with a 90% smaller environmental footprint in comparison with eggs from chickens.

The corporate engineers Bioalbumen to have a clear, impartial taste that can be utilized to interchange eggs in a wide range of meals, baked items, snacks and sauces. The corporate plans to promote Bioalbumen to corporations that will then create the meals merchandise.

“What we do is different from, for example, the systems other companies are working on,” Itkonen mentioned. “The microorganism grows a little bit slower, but the productivity is much, much higher. So it generates a bigger yield, and the product is simple in that it doesn’t require specialized equipment. It all comes back to cost because in order to really compete with animal products, it needs to be at the same price.”

The corporate will launch first in North America. Itkonen expects Onego Bio to obtain self-affirmed GRAS (Usually Acknowledged as Secure) standing for Bioalbumen this 12 months and a no objections letter from the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration in 2025. It’ll then comply with that up with growth in Europe, South America and Asia.

In preparation for this, Onego Bio lately secured $40 million in Collection A funding to get Bioalbumen to market and improve manufacturing capabilities. Funds will go to develop the U.S. business crew and can companion with co-manufacturers whereas finalizing its personal manufacturing facility. The corporate is nearing a single Onego full-scale manufacturing unit that boasts a 2 million-liter fermentation capability, which might successfully change an egg farm with 6 million laying hens, Itkonen mentioned.

Japanese-Nordic enterprise capital agency NordicNinja led the funding with participation from fairness traders Tesi and EIT Meals, current traders Agronomics, Maki.vc, Holdix and Turret and a gaggle of strategic companions.

The spherical additionally features a $10 million non-dilutive funding from Enterprise Finland, a public group below the Finnish Authorities that helps innovation to speed up systemic change to assist resolve main world challenges. Itkonen touts that Onego Bio’s Collection A funding is “one of the largest A-rounds in the Nordics,” and brings the corporate’s complete funding to $56 million.

Tomosaku Sohara, managing companion of Nordic Ninja mentioned in a press release: “Onego Bio is taking all the right steps to commercialize in record time … with a clear path to industrialization, go-to-market and profitability. In less than two years, Onego is already working with major global food companies and is staged to disrupt the $330 billion egg market and create system level change, accelerating the green transition.”

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