MiAlgae aims to harness the potential of micro-algae as a sustainable and alternative source of Omega-3 oils essential to animal and human health, to eliminate a worldwide reliance on its key source: wild-caught fish.
Omega-3 oils are currently produced by extracting the oil from billions of fish. However, approximately 90% of the world’s stocks are either over-exploited or fully depleted and are no longer sustainable. Research has also shown that farmed salmon has half the quantity of Omega-3 oils it had five years ago*. Consequently, alternative sources are required, especially as aquaculture is the largest global consumer of fish oil in fish feed.
Established in 2016 in Edinburgh, biotechnology start-up MiAlgae applies leading advances in science and technology to deliver a zero-waste solution. It does this by recycling co-products from food and drink production to grow Omega-3-rich micro-algae, eliminating the reliance on wild-caught fish, and returning clean water in the process; while improving food security and reducing human impact on the planet.
“By utilising low-value co-products from the food and drink industries and implementing innovative biotechnology processes to convert these into products rich in Omega-3s, we can protect the environment and champion the circular economy ”, said MiAlgae’s Managing Director, Douglas Martin.
In August 2022, with plans already in place to commercialise other high-value compounds and pigments through the expansion of the platform, the company sought further investment.
The Conduit Impact Fund, managed by Ascension, led a new funding round supported by SIS Ventures which delivered £1.25m, alongside Equity Gap, Old College Capital and Scottish Enterprise, who all committed to additional funding, totalling over £1m. The investment builds on the £850k grant funding recently secured from Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.
The £2.3m investment supports the company in its growth plans, including the completion of a commercial demonstrator facility near Stirling. The funds 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 is 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 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.”
Siobhan Moore, Senior Investment Manager at SIS Ventures, said: “MiAlgae is a powerful addition to our multi-award-winning portfolio of innovative mission-aligned businesses. Its aim is to become a world leader in biotechnology for good and to deliver important societal and environmental impact aligned to three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - life below water, good health and wellbeing, and responsible consumption and production.”
* Ghosh, Pallab. Omega-3 Oils in Farmed Salmon ‘Halve in Five Years.’ BBC News. October 6, 2016.
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