Edmonton-based biotech startup Future Fields has raised $15.1 million CAD ($11.2 million USD) in a seed extension funding round as it looks to help meet global demand for bioreactors by using common fruit flies.
Future Fields did not disclose who led the round, but noted that Bee Partners increased its equity stake. The round also saw participation from Toyota Ventures, Builders VC, AgFunder, Amplify Capital, Milad Alucozai of BoxOne Ventures, Green Circle Foodtech, Siddhi Capital, and Climate Capital.
A spokesperson for Future Fields told BetaKit that the $11.2 million figure includes a $5 million CAD grant, and the rest is equity.
Founded in 2018 by couple Matt Anderson-Baron (CEO) and Jalene Anderson-Baron (COO), Future Fields turns fruit flies into bioreactors. It claims that its platform is 30 times faster than using steel tanks as bioreactors.
The output of bioreactors is recombinant protein, which is a manipulated form of protein that can be used to manufacture consumer products like cultivated meat, vaccines, and medicine. Recombinant protein is usually produced in microbial systems grown in large steel tanks, which takes up a lot of space and can be costly. Future Fields is replacing those tanks with genetically engineered fruit flies, which the company claims to be a faster and more cost-effective approach.
“This is how we’ve already commercialized our first few products,” said Matt. “As we unlock more proteins, we can scale production capacity while continuing to service over 60 companies in cellular agriculture and beyond.”
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The biomanufacturing industry is growing at a steady rate, and this has led to demand for bioreactors to exceed the supply. In the cultivated edible protein segment alone, ten billion liters of bioreactor capacity will be needed by 2030 and only 61 million liters exist today.
Future Fields initially focused on serving the cultivated meats industry. The startup has since launched a suite of new human recombinant protein products to target medical research and biopharmaceuticals. These new offerings include protein products for wound healing, breast milk development, and stem cell research, among others.
According to Future Fields, it intends to use its latest round ofcapital to hire key personnel and build out its first production facility. The company said this new facility will enable the production of recombinant proteins at kilogram scale and will be located right beside its corporate headquarters in Edmonton.
Future Fields has raised $13.2 million USD in total funding to date. It previously closed a $2.2 million seed round, which was led by Bee Partners, in 2021.