MiAlgae secures US$2.7m funding to scale sustainable production of Omega 3 oils

SCOTLAND— Scottish biotechnology start-up, MiAlgae has attracted further investment of £2.3m (US$2.77m), to help drive growth of its platform for the production of sustainable Omega 3 fatty acids for human and animal consumption.

Established in 2016, the Edinburg based company has developed a biotechnology platform that uses micro-algae grown on wastewater, generally as a coproduct from the food and drink industry, to sustainably produce Omega 3 oils.

Plans are already in place to commercialize other high-value compounds and pigments through expansion of the platform.

The Conduit Impact Fund managed by Ascension led the round, investing £900,000 (US$ 1.06 million), with new investor SIS Ventures putting forward £350,000 (US$413,305).

Existing investors, Equity Gap, Old College Capital, and Scottish Enterprise, all committed to additional funding, totaling over £1m (US$1.18 million), supplementing the £850k (US$ 1 million) of grant funding recently secured from Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

Douglas Martin, MD, MiAlgae, said: “Our process is championing the circular economy and the investment we have secured will be transformational in helping MiAlgae scale quickly both locally and abroad.” 

The company intends to use the funds to grow its team and increase its expertise, with intent to create ten new posts, including a head of engineering and commercial director. The funds will also be channeled towards the completion of a commercial demonstrator facility near Stirling, due to be online in 2023, which will drive MiAlgae’s traction in the commercial market.

Our process is championing the circular economy and the investment we have secured will be transformational in helping MiAlgae scale quickly both locally and abroad

Douglas Martin, MD, MiAlgae Tweet

Initially, the company is focused on the pet food sector with an eye on expansion into the aquaculture sector in the near future. Aquaculture is the largest consumer of fish oil produced globally, which is used in fish feed.

Omega-3 oils, also known as long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), are highly sought after for their human health benefits such as cardiovascular protection and improved cognitive development and function, as well as for use in animal nutrition and medical applications.

Originally sourced from fish, growing concerns with food security, fish stocks, industrial fishing and pollutants in some fish oils have led to increased interest in alternative sources of omega-3 oils, including bacteria, fungi, yeasts and microalgae.

Microalgae are the primary source of omega-3 LC-PUFA in the marine food chain and fish obtain omega-3 LC-PUFA from microalgae through their diet. Microalgae offer us a direct and renewable source of these valuable oils.

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