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Animal-free egg protein startup Onego Bio is one step closer to cracking the traditional egg market | Prime Time News24


In 2023, increased egg costs offered a possibility for different protein corporations to indicate they might compete with conventional egg producers.

A yr 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 different referred to as Bioalbumen.

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

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

Itkonen instructed Prime Time News24 that the corporate’s patented fungal fermentation expertise course of permits it to supply 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 rooster 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 exchange eggs in quite a lot 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 totally different from, for instance, the programs different corporations are engaged on,” Itkonen mentioned. “The microorganism grows somewhat bit slower, however the productiveness is way, a lot increased. So it generates an even bigger yield, and the product is easy in that it doesn’t require specialised gear. All of it comes again to value as a result of with the intention to actually compete with animal merchandise, it must be on the identical worth.”

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 yr and a no objections letter from the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration in 2025. It is going to then observe that up with growth in Europe, South America and Asia.

In preparation for this, Onego Bio not too long ago secured $40 million in Sequence A funding to get Bioalbumen to market and improve manufacturing capabilities. Funds will go to develop the U.S. industrial workforce and can associate 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 buyers Tesi and EIT Meals, present buyers Agronomics, Maki.vc, Holdix and Turret and a bunch of strategic companions.

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

Tomosaku Sohara, managing associate of Nordic Ninja mentioned in a press release: “Onego Bio is taking all the best steps to commercialize in document time … with a transparent path to industrialization, go-to-market and profitability. In lower than two years, Onego is already working with main international meals corporations and is staged to disrupt the $330 billion egg market and create system degree change, accelerating the inexperienced transition.”

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