Future fields are turning fruit flies into bioreactors.

Building the giant bioreactors requires a lot of infrastructure and money. He said that raw materials needed to produce things like medicine, vaccines and processed meat are needed to be produced in large quantities.

Matt Anderson-Barron, co-founder and CEO of Canada-based Future Fields, told TechCrunch that 10 billion liters of bioreactor capacity is needed by 2030, but only 61 million liters of that is available.

In addition, recombinant protein produced by bioreactors covers most of the cost of producing processed meat, which is partly why this sector has not been able to reach price comparisons with conventional meat.

Future Fields thinks it’s come up with a more cost-effective and sustainable way to do this through EntoEngine, an approach that uses fruit flies — not giant metal tanks — for recombinant protein production.

“Typically, growth factors and recombinant proteins are produced by microorganisms growing in large stainless steel tanks, so they compete for the same infrastructure,” Anderson-Barron said. “Where we’re going is to replace the bioreactor with insects. We’re genetically engineering — insects that can be grown in simple plastic containers — and it’s very, very scalable, cost-effective and, importantly, overcomes the challenges associated with that infrastructure and provides a chain to people who need it. Without creating more demand.” It is or it is not.”

Anderson-Barron, its owner, Jalyn Anderson-Barron, and co-founder Leji Ghafoor have been working on this problem for some time (we last covered Field of the Future in 2020), and today announced an $11.2 million seed round of funding that will enable the company. To build a manufacturing facility to introduce its first products outside of processed meat: research, cell therapy and biopharmaceuticals and to scale the team.

Joining Bee Partners in the round are Toyota Ventures, Builders VC, AgFunder, Amplify Capital, Milad Alucozai of BoxOne Ventures, Green Circle Foodtech, Siddi Capital and Climate Capital.

Anderson-Barron declined to disclose growth metrics, but said the company’s team has doubled in size in the past year and has shipped its animal protein products to more than 60 companies in the past year and a half.

Future Fields is building its first manufacturing facility next to its corporate headquarters in Edmonton, Canada, and once complete, it will have a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility capable of producing mixed proteins on a kilogram scale.

Meanwhile, EntoEngene Technology offers a portfolio of human recombinant protein products for medical research and biopharmaceuticals, including five proteins for wound healing, reproductive biology, muscle and breast milk development, and stem cell research.

Anderson-Barron says using flies allows for both speed and scale. EntoEngine’s fruit fly technology can produce biomass 16 to 30 times faster than traditional bioreactors, producing proteins with the same footprint and structure every day.

“This is not possible with other systems where you assign bioreactors that run for weeks at a time to produce a single batch,” he added. “It gives us much more flexibility, and importantly, we can scale up faster and more cost-effectively because we’re replacing stainless steel tanks with insects.”

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