Animal-free milk proteins on the rise
BRAIN Biotech AG and Formo Bio GmbH launch a strategic collaboration to further advance the fermentative production of animal-free milk proteins. BRAIN Biotech is a leading industrial biotechnology company; Berlin-based food tech start-up Formo is a pioneering food tech company in the field of alternative milk proteins. As experts in their fields, the two biotech companies are driving innovation in the European economy.
The Berlin-based company recently received $50 million for its venture, the largest Series A funding as a European FoodTech company. Formo’s products are based on real, animal-free milk proteins produced using precision fermentation. The young company aims to accelerate the scaling of its bioidentical milk protein production with a genome editing technology, relying on BRAIN Biotech’s expertise and proprietary BEC platform. The strategic collaboration aims to optimize microorganisms to expand novel and sustainable protein production through precision fermentation for commercial use.
Formo is opening up a completely new product category alongside animal products and purely plant-based alternatives: the Berlin-based startup produces nature-identical milk proteins using specialized microorganisms. As the first company in Europe, Formo aims to revolutionize the $700 billion dairy market while saving several gigatons of CO2. In doing so, Formo is meeting increasing demand from consumers: Just recently, the startup conducted a consumer study on this, confirming that 79 percent of consumers want to try animal-free cheese products.
“We are proud to have BRAIN as a renowned partner with whom we share our passion for biotechnology and ambition for greater sustainability: Through precision fermentation, we can decouple the cow from the dairy value chain, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 91 to 97 percent,” says Dr. Britta Winterberg, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Formo. “With the know-how of the best experts in our team and with a strong partner in strain engineering, our products can be the first of their kind to be produced on an industrial scale and offered at competitive prices. By cooperating with BRAIN, we can build our role as a global market leader even faster.”
“We are pleased to be able to support Formo with our genome editing expertise and our proprietary BEC nuclease to develop a production strain for the production of animal-free cheese products. This is where precision fermentation comes into play. It is an example of how genome editing technology can be used to obtain a protein that is nature-identical, but can be produced in a much more sustainable manner than the animal protein,” said Dr. Michael Krohn, Head of R&D at BRAIN Biotech.
“Formo is a pioneer in many respects. The fast decision-making processes, fair negotiation strategy and clear ideas on how to market the products in Europe make Formo an ideal strategic partner for BRAIN. Combined with our technological expertise, this makes for a unique partnership,” points out Dr. Martin Langer, EVP and Head of Business Development at BRAIN Biotech.