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Bon Vivant, the French leader in animal-free dairy proteins, closes a €15 million financing round

October 16, 2023

Bon Vivant, France's leading biotech company in animal-free dairy proteins, has completed a new oversubscribed round of equity financing totaling €15 million (US$15.8 million), accelerating its development to meet the current challenges of the agri-food market. This new round of financing is backed by Sofinnova Partners, Sparkfood and Captech.

Supported by this funding, Bon Vivant plans to strengthen its research and development teams to remain at the cutting edge of innovation in its sector. As a leading player in precision fermentation, the Lyon-based start-up is asserting its unique 'ingredient supplier' model for the dairy industry. Its very aim is to help the industry meet the dual challenge of growing demand while limiting the environmental impact of its products.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that by 2050, global demand for animal proteins will rise by 50-100%. Meanwhile, global milk production is falling. Furthermore, and despite our collective best efforts, the current agricultural production system remains one of the major causes of climate change. Bon Vivant, with its unique model and technology, embodies a new form of complementary agriculture which is more respectful of the environment. The principle of fermentation, which has been known for a very long time and was developed by Louis Pasteur, has until now mostly been used to make beer, or more recently to produce proteins for the pharmaceutical industry, such as insulin, or for the food industry, such as vanillin. Today, Bon Vivant’s innovation enables the production of milk proteins from precision fermentation.

Bon Vivant is one of the only biotechs in the world to work on both whey and casein proteins. This capability allows the company to respond to specific food industry needs in terms of functionality and nutrition.

This new financing round led by Europe's most recognized biotech and food-tech investors also validates Bon Vivant’s technological lead in particular in terms of strain productivity, which is a key element to scale and meet massive demand from food industrials.

This funding will allow Bon Vivant to invest in its brand-new lab located in Lyon, to produce large amounts of samples to meet demand from its partners, and to accelerate its regulatory approval track, notably for the USA, where Bon Vivant plans to commercialize as soon as 2025.

As evidenced by the 1st European life cycle assessment carried out for Bon Vivant by independent expert Lorie Hamelin from INRAE Toulouse, compared with conventional milk production, Bon Vivant’s precision fermentation process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 97%, drinking water consumption by 99% and energy usage by 50%. Bon Vivant and its solution therefore represent a viable alternative that is well suited to today's challenges.

"We are very proud of this new stage in the development of Bon Vivant, which enables us to welcome leading investors from the biotechnology and agri-food industries to our capital," said Stéphane MacMillan, CEO & Founder of Bon Vivant. "This round of financing confirms the growing demand for precision fermentation as a solution to the tremendous challenges the agri-food industry, particularly the dairy industry, is facing. The aim is threefold: to increase the number of developments with our customers, to produce on an industrial scale and to prepare for commercialization by 2025. It should also enable us to grow as the French world leader.”

"Bon Vivant's pioneering work in animal-free dairy proteins through precision fermentation aligns perfectly with Sofinnova's mission to promote sustainable solutions for a healthier planet," added Michael Krel, Partner at Sofinnova Partners. "We are delighted to support Stéphane, Hélène and the team as they continue to transform the dairy sector and contribute to a more sustainable agri-food era.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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