- Precision fermentation leader Perfect Day is launching a corporate bio business called nth Bio that will essentially help companies enter the field and scale their services. It will be located outside the company’s Salt Lake City hub.
- Onego Bio, a Finnish egg white protein manufacturer, is the first company to partner with nth Bio. Onego uses precision fermentation to create ovalbumin, the most abundant protein in this part of the egg. The company plans to first enter the U.S. market as a baking and confectionary ingredient and protein supplement, and eventually produce branded bakery products for consumers.
- Perfect Day, which produces animal-free whey protein, was one of the first food companies to use fermentation technology to produce naturally occurring protein from another source. It has raised $711.5 million over its lifetime, according to Crunchbase, and has a wide variety of consumer products on the market that use its protein.
When Perfect Day started, co-founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi were basically trying to make a friendlier, animal-free real dairy product, Ravi Jhala, the company’s global head of commercial, said in an interview. . And they did, raising millions, forging key partnerships and creating products. Perfect Day even created an affiliated CPG company, The Urgent Company, to produce branded products featuring Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy products.
While the science of precision fermentation is not new, it has been used primarily in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries for many years, and before Perfect Day began, it had extremely limited use in food.
Today, precision fermentation is a mature space, and its science is attracting many new startups. According to the Good Food Institute, by the end of 2021, a total of 39 companies worldwide are committed to precision food fermentation, accounting for 44% of all fermentation-driven alternative protein companies. Nine of the 15 fermentation companies that will start construction in 2021 use precision fermentation.
Through good science and business decisions, luck of timing and key early partnerships, including with ADM, Perfect Day is currently the only branded company using precision fermentation in consumer products. According to Jhala, Perfect Day realized that while growing, there was more the company could do to help others enter the space. Finding the equipment and facilities needed to produce precision fermented food ingredients—that meet a range of FDA food safety requirements—at a meaningful scale is challenging and costly. Not many companies know how to do this either.
“Perfect Day is designed to help companies in the precision fermentation space really close the strain-to-scale gap,” Jhala said. “That’s really what we’re trying to achieve. We want companies to know that there’s a path forward where you don’t have to meet your needs piecemeal. Basically, with this kind of service that we’re going to provide, you can basically go from soup to nuts .”
Perfect Day’s 58,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Salt Lake City, nth Bio, will be fully operational by next August, Jhala said.
Onego Bio, a spin-off company of the VTT Technical Research Center in Finland, has been developing precision fermentation technology for the past few years. It raised 14.5 million euros ($14.5 million) and received its latest funding from Commerzbank earlier this month. Onego Bio and Perfect Day said the new partnership is accelerating its time-to-market, but did not provide details on the proposed timeline.