Noblegen opens CAD$500m Series C round to commercialize suite of ingredients from ancient microbe euglena gracilis

While it’s more typical to make a press announcement after raising capital, founder Adam Noble told FoodNavigator-USA, “We wanted to open up the pipeline for the broader investor audience​,” explaining that the money would help Noblegen expand its R&D pipeline, hire new talent, ramp up production of food ingredients (initially inhouse in Peterborough Ontario and later via a tolling network of fermentation facilities around the globe), and move into other industries.

‘Instead of a cow that’s got an 18-month growth cycle or plants with a six month growth cycle, euglena is replicating every 12 to 24 hours’

Euglena (pronounced ‘you-glee-nuh’) – “a protist that could also be classified as an algae​” – is a single celled micro-organism naturally rich in protein, beta-glucan, oil, vitamins, and minerals with a unique ability to express properties of plants and animals, that can grow without light in fermentation tanks provided it has a source of carbon and nitrogen, said Noble.

“The two most important aspects from a cost standpoint are the speed of growth and the source of raw materials. We can use inputs similar to what you’d feed an animal, but instead of having a 5-10% conversion efficiency, we can get a 70-80% feed conversion efficiency.

“Instead of a cow that’s got an 18 month growth cycle or plants that have a six month growth cycle, euglena is replicating every 12 to 24 hours.”

Another attractive aspect of Noblegen’s process from a sustainability and efficiency perspective, he said, is that “all of our ingredients are co-products so there is not a ‘waste stream’ that’s generated though our process. It’s also got a minimal water and land footprint, so it really is the most sustainable option in the food industry.”

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