Scottish biotech startup secures funding for sustainable omega-3 production

August 17, 2022 - 3 minutes
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MiAlgae, a Scottish biotech start-up, has secured new investment of £2.3 million ($2.8 million) to help drive the next stage of its growth journey.

Established in 2016, MiAlgae has created a solution to producing a sustainable source of omega-3 for animal and human consumption. 

Championing the circular economy, the company has developed a novel biotechnology platform that uses low-value coproducts from the food and drink industry as a feedstock to initially grow microalgae rich in 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 ($1.1 million), with new investor SIS Ventures putting forward £350,000 ($421,560). 

Having already previously invested, Equity Gap, Old College Capital and Scottish Enterprise all committed to additional funding, totalling more than £1m ($1.2 million). The investment builds on the £850k ($1 million) of grant funding recently secured from Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

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Expansion plans

The £2.3m investment will support the company in its growth plans which include the completion of a commercial demonstrator facility near Stirling, which will drive MiAlgae’s expanding commercial traction. 

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.

The investment will also help grow the team at MiAlgae and increase its expertise. Ten new posts, including a head of engineering and commercial director, will be created.

Douglas Martin, managing director at MiAlgae, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to know that our investors see value in the biotechnology platform we’ve developed to tackle the production of omega-3 oils in a commercially viable way.

“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. 

“Our commercial demonstrator plant, due to be completed early in 2023, will help us improve food security globally, while our research department continues to drive the development of exciting, commercially viable biotech innovations.”

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Hadley Diest, investment manager at the Conduit Impact Fund, said: “MiAlgae’s circular economy approach to producing algae rich in Omega-3 solves key pain points on the supply (Scotch Whisky distilleries) and demand (pet food and fish feed producers) sides – to both dispose of Scotch byproducts sustainably and increase the supply of sustainably sourced, price-competitive, omega-3 into the broader market.

“Douglas and his team have worked tirelessly to bring this vision to life and the Conduit Impact Fund is proud to help support MiAlgae in their next stage of commercial growth.”

About MiAlgae

Established in 2016, MiAlgae said there is a global threat to oceans caused by overfishing to supply omega-3 oil for human and animal consumption. This prompted the development of a solution through the circular economy. 

Using its biotechnology platform, MiAlgae uses co-products from the food and drink sector as feedstocks to grow microalgae rich in omega-3 oils, which can be used as a sustainable source of omega-3 and antioxidants. This can eliminate the reliance on wild-caught fish as a source of omega-3, reduce CO2 emissions and prevent the loss of ocean ecosystems.

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