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Molecular farming startup, PoLoPo, secures US$1.75 million pre-seed round to double down on its unique approach for animal-based proteins, growing in plants

March 16, 2023

Israeli molecular farming company, PoLoPo, has closed a US$1.75 million funding round to double down on developing its proprietary technology to grow proteins from potatoes – the world’s most widely grown non-cereal food crop. The Pre-seed round was led by FoodLabs, with further investors including CPT Capital, Siddhi Capital, Plug and Play Ventures, Milk & Honey Ventures and HackCapital. With the fresh funding, PoLoPo will further expand its core team of world-class scientists and accelerate their R&D efforts in order to offer prototypes in the coming year and a half.

PoLoPo has developed a proprietary technology to express proteins in potatoes in a scalable, cost-effective way, in order to meet the food industries’ protein demands and to nourish the world’s growing population. The company is building a technology platform for protein production, starting out with ovalbumin (protein of the egg white), targeting the US$26.6 billion egg protein market as well as the growing demand for egg white protein alternatives from the industry. PoLoPo’s Ovalbumin will be identical to 'real' egg Ovalbumin in terms of functionality, nutritional value, and protein sequence.

“We’re glad to have won a group of such renowned and like-minded investors,” said Dr Maya Sapir-Mir, Co-founder, PoLoPo. “With this substantial funding we are aiming to reach several significant milestones including protein rich potato tubers and ovalbumin functional samples.”

“We want to produce better food for the world," added Dr Raya Liberman-Aloni, Co-founder. "Molecular farming technology, being harnessed for the production of high-quality proteins, presents a huge opportunity to do so, alongside with taking the animals out of the equation and reducing the carbon footprint of the production process.”

Produced in more than 100 countries worldwide and the third most important food crop in the world, potatoes are an abundant, resilient, cheap, and versatile yet underused food source. PoLoPo’s potato-to-protein pathway commercial scalability since plants require relatively low investment to grow and are amenable to upscaling by common agricultural practice.

“We’ve been very impressed by the disruptive potential of their platform technology and, most importantly, by the deep plant science expertise of PoLoPo's founders and their bold vision for the company”, explained Christian Guba, Principal at FoodLabs. “We believe they are set to complement the incumbents in precision fermentation by pioneering a simpler approach to develop proteins.”

(Picture credit: Amit Alfonta)

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