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

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In 2023, higher ovum prices provided an opportunity for replacement macromolecule companies to show they could compete pinch accepted ovum manufacturers.

A twelvemonth later, prices person calmed down, but nan flurry of activity successful creating much sustainable ovum products continues to thrive. One spot seeing a flurry of activity is Onego Bio, a Finland-based food-biotech company, which uses nan fungus Trichoderma reesei and precision fermentation to create an animal-free ovum achromatic replacement called Bioalbumen.

Maija Itkonen, co-founder and CEO of Onego Bio (pronounced on-eh-go), spun disconnected nan institution pinch precision fermentation master Christopher Landowski from VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland) successful 2022.

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

Onego Bio co-founders Maija Itkonen and Christopher Landowski. Image Credits: Onego Bio

Itkonen told TechCrunch that nan company’s patented fungal fermentation exertion process enables it to nutrient 120 grams per liter successful 250,000-liter fermentation vessels. At this capacity, Onego Bio is adjacent to reaching competitory value points to accepted ways of making ovum proteins, she added.

Onego Bio claims Bioalbumen is “bioidentical” to ovalbumin, which is nan awesome macromolecule successful chickenhearted ovum white. It besides contains each basal amino acids and is high-protein: 90 grams per 100 grams of ovum white. In addition, nan institution tin nutrient it pinch a 90% smaller biology footprint compared to eggs from chickens.

The institution engineers Bioalbumen to person a clean, neutral spirit that tin beryllium utilized to switch eggs successful a assortment of foods, baked goods, snacks and sauces. The institution plans to waste Bioalbumen to companies that would past create nan nutrient products.

“What we do is different from, for example, nan systems different companies are moving on,” Itkonen said. “The microorganism grows a small spot slower, but nan productivity is much, overmuch higher. So it generates a bigger yield, and nan merchandise is elemental successful that it doesn’t require specialized equipment. It each comes backmost to costs because successful bid to really compete pinch animal products, it needs to beryllium astatine nan aforesaid price.”

The institution will motorboat first successful North America. Itkonen expects Onego Bio to person self-affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized arsenic Safe) position for Bioalbumen this twelvemonth and a nary objections missive from nan U.S. Food and Drug Administration successful 2025. It will past travel that up pinch description successful Europe, South America and Asia.

In mentation for this, Onego Bio precocious secured $40 cardinal successful Series A backing to get Bioalbumen to marketplace and summation manufacturing capabilities. Funds will spell to turn nan U.S. commercialized squad and will partner pinch co-manufacturers while finalizing its ain factory. The institution is nearing a azygous Onego full-scale manufacturing portion that boasts a 2 million-liter fermentation capacity, which would efficaciously switch an ovum workplace pinch 6 cardinal laying hens, Itkonen said.

Japanese-Nordic task superior patient NordicNinja led nan finance pinch information from equity investors Tesi and EIT Food, existing investors Agronomics, Maki.vc, Holdix and Turret and a group of strategical partners.

The information besides includes a $10 cardinal non-dilutive backing from Business Finland, a nationalist statement nether nan Finnish Government that supports invention to accelerate systemic alteration to thief lick awesome world challenges. Itkonen touts that Onego Bio’s Series A backing is “one of nan largest A-rounds successful nan Nordics,” and brings nan company’s full backing to $56 million.

Tomosaku Sohara, managing partner of Nordic Ninja said successful a statement: “Onego Bio is taking each nan correct steps to commercialize successful grounds clip … pinch a clear way to industrialization, go-to-market and profitability. In little than 2 years, Onego is already moving pinch awesome world nutrient companies and is staged to disrupt nan $330 cardinal ovum marketplace and create strategy level change, accelerating nan greenish transition.”