SOLASTA Bio has developed the world's first technology platform for creating neuropeptide-based insect control products that are nature-inspired rather than selected from a synthetic chemistry library.

Trading activity
Biotechnology Research
SIS Ventures role
Lead Impact Investor
Professor Shireen Davis, CEO of SOLASTA Bio

The global agricultural industry is increasingly struggling to respond to growing insect pest threats including growing insect resistance to conventional insecticides and emerging insect threats because of climate change. Conventional approaches are damaging our ecosystems and failing to deliver safe effective food production. Agricultural corporations (AgCorps) ageing portfolios of environmentally damaging insecticides are outdated, and disruptive innovative new approaches are needed.

Illustrating the problem, the UK government banned the use of Neonicotinoids in 2018, because of their devastating impact on pollinators and ecosystems, only to backtrack and reverse the decision in 2021 approving their use on sugar beet (a root vegetable used in animal feed) because of a growing prevalence of sugar beet yellow virus which is spread by aphids; and there being no viable alternative pest control approaches.

Protecting crop yields - and in doing so delivering food security - while preserving the environment is one of the biggest challenges of today. In fact, the global insecticides market is currently dominated by synthetic chemicals accounting for 94% of insect control solutions. While 75% of food crops are dependent on pollinator insects, other insects cause enormous social, health and economic damage that accounts for at least $70 billion in US crop losses alone.

This is where SOLASTA Bio comes in. SOLASTA Bio is bringing to market the next generation of green insecticides. SOLASTA Bio’s technology enables them to develop small protein-based products that effectively target insect pests while preserving beneficial pollinators, such as bees, in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. The company’s innovative solution can be mobilised to target any pest of interest while preserving beneficial species.

SOLASTA Bio contributes to a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as follows; Goal 2 Zero Hunger, Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and Goal 15 Life on Land.

Prior to spinout from Glasgow University, SOLASTA Bio secured multimillion pound research funding from UK Research and Innovation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the European Commission, as well as commercialisation support from Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spinout Programme.

SIS Ventures was delighted to be part of the funding round, led by The Yield Lab Europe, which allowed SOLASTA Bio to spin-out from The University of Glasgow.

At the time Professor Shireen Davies, CEO, SOLASTA Bio commented:

“The global market for insecticides has been under intense scrutiny for many years now, with growing demands on food production requiring greater levels of crop protection, counterbalanced by heightened concerns for the environment. Through our proprietary technology platform, we have developed a world-leading solution which represents a profound change for how insect control agents are discovered, and a step-change in how we not only protect our crops worldwide but also our ecosystem. This seed funding now allows us to accelerate our R&D plans and move towards Seed+/Series A in 2022.”

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