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Agronomics takes up 47% equity stake in Liberation Labs

Cell-ag specialist, Agronomics, has announced that it has led the founder's round of Liberation Labs Holdings Inc through an initial investment of US$627,000 for a 47% equity stake.

Liberation Labs is aiming to become the global leader of precision fermentation with purpose-built production facilities for industrial biotechnology. The investment will be made using funds from the company's own resources.

Agronomics and CPT Capital have come together with Liberation Labs' Co-founders Mark Warner, CEO, and Etan Bendheim, CBO, to address the pressing need for modern full-scale precision fermentation facilities.

Investment in precision fermentation companies within the cellular agriculture sector has been increasing, with US$1.7 billion raised in 2021 alone. In the USA, Agronomics' and CPT Capital's portfolio companies, including Perfect Day, The EVERY Company, Motif FoodWorks and Geltor are already generating revenues from their precision fermentation produced proteins, which are on the market in the form of dairy, egg and other proteins such as collagens. As more companies look to commercialize and scale-up, there is a need for large-scale, cost-competitive manufacturing capacity.

Liberation Labs was formed to address the ever-widening gap in fermentation capacity.  The shortage of fermentation capacity for cellular agriculture is reaching its tipping point – companies that are making alternative proteins have scarce resources to produce at the scale, quality and cost needed to meet consumer demands. Fermentation capacity being used today was built for other purposes, mainly pharmaceuticals, and does not fit the need of most precision fermentation proteins, including those mentioned above.  Many of the facilities currently in use are over 40 years old, and do not have the modern downstream equipment to drive quality, yield, and production efficiency needed to compete in a global marketplace. Liberation Labs is currently evaluating six geographies to locate its first fit-for-purpose facility which, once built, will have a total fermentation capacity in the millions of liters.

Precision fermentation uses microbial hosts to function as 'cell factories,' programmed to produce specific functional ingredients. This technology has existed for over 40 years, but it is only in the last decade that precision fermentation tools have become economically viable to produce food ingredients inclusive of dairy proteins, egg proteins and collagen. This biotechnology infrastructure will catalyze the disconnection of food production from animal agriculture and could provide a sustainable and consistent protein supply to address food security issues within the coming decades.

"This is a hugely exciting investment for us, and it is a privilege to help facilitate the first and only precision food fermentation facility,” said Jim Mellon, Co-founder & Executive Director of Agronomics. “Existing contract manufacturing capacity will need to be scaled up by 1,000x in the coming decades to facilitate broad based production and adoption of proteins produced via fermentation. Liberation Labs' solution will set the standard for the precision fermentation industry with cost effective, reliable and strategically situated facilities to meet growing consumer demand across the globe. It is a crucial step in the advancement of cellular agriculture."

"Liberation Labs will deliver precision fermentation without compromise for its customers, and aims to become the global leader for alternative protein production, by commercializing modern and purpose-built manufacturing facilities at a cost structure that frees the world from the costs of industrialized agriculture," added Mark Warner, Co-founder & CEO of Liberation Labs.

New Agrarian Company Limited also participated in the financing of Liberation Labs with an investment of US$267,000 on the same terms as Agronomics.

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