Core Biogenesis bags $10.5m funding to drive plant-based bioproduction

Core Biogenesis has completed a $10.5 million Series A funding round, which will be used to build a plant-based bioproduction facility.

The site will be located in Strasbourg, France and the firm said it will be dedicated to manufacturing growth factors and cytokines for the cell therapy space and cellular agricultural industry and will launch early next year.

The firm claims it has developed a technology platform that can express recombinant proteins from the seeds of a Camelina sativa oilseed plant.

“A robust oilseed crop, Camelina sativa, can be engineered to generate a stable seed line for a recombinant protein, such as a growth factor,” a spokesperson for the firm told us.

“They plant these crops on a farm and grow them as any other crop – to produce seeds. In their case, the seeds express recombinant proteins. When the plants produce seeds, the seeds are harvested from the farm and the recombinant protein is recovered from the seeds through a mechanical grinding, centrifugation, and simple purification process. This platform has incredible scalability. For example, a 1-hectare farm is the equivalent growth factor capacity of a 10,000 L traditional bioreactor.”

While the firm’s molecular farming platform can be used to express recombinant growth factors for therapeutics and cultivated meat, Core Biologics says that its focus is to respond to the intricate and high costs of next-generation therapeutic modalities, like cell therapies.

Additionally, the spokesperson said the advantages of using a plant-based production systems is that there are “lower cost process, no risk of viral or endotoxin contamination (since the process is animal-free), high levels of bioactivity in the resultant proteins, and the entire process is carbon negative.”

The funding will also be used to hire additional members of staff to support the expansion and Core Biogenesis said the location means while there is much competition in the space, “there is no shortage of scientists.”

Core Biogenesis reels in $10.5M in series A to build new plant cell facility

Core Biogenesis, a French biotech startup that specializes in plant-based cell therapy manufacturing, reeled in $10.5 million in series A funding to build a new production facility.

The company, which was founded in 2020, said it will construct a new facility to produce growth factors and cytokines for the expanding cell therapy market and cellular agriculture industry. The startup will also use the funds to hire scientific and technical staff at the plant, which is expected to operational by the first quarter of 2023.

Following the explosive growth of mRNA vaccines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, drug developers have begun investing in plant-based technologies for future vaccines and treatments, Core Biogenesis says. For its part, Core's tech uses flax seed to produce proteins that are extracted and purified to create raw materials that can be used in pharmaceuticals.

"We achieve high yield while eliminating the biosafety risk of endotoxin, virus, and prion contamination seen with current mammalian and microbial expression platforms,” Alexandre Reeber, chief executive and a co-founder of Core Biogenesis, said in a statement.

Although the company’s molecular farming platform can capture recombinant growth factors ranging from human therapies to cultivated meats, Core Biogenesis says it's focused on driving down the high costs and complex nature of next-gen therapies such as cell therapies. The company estimates the cell therapy market will grow from $9.2 billion last year to $65 billion by 2027.

Ange, a Paris-based science and technology venture capital firm, led the round. Other investors included Blue Horizon Ventures and Thia Ventures.

Core won't be alone in exploring plant-based manufacturing applications in biopharma. More than a year ago, GSK partner Medicago said it was taking COVID-19 vaccine production into the greenhouse. Dubbed Covifenz, the vaccine won approval in Canada in February.