Funding, investments and grants continue to soar for biotech materials developers, especially after several successful IPOs from companies such as Danimer Scientific, Origin Materials, Cathay Industrial Biotech, Circa Group, and Zymergen. While Zymergen’s recent stock fall due to reported issues in its manufacturing timeline could send small setbacks for nervous investors looking at the industrial biotechnology sector, the investment community remains optimistic about the long-term potential for biotech companies looking to revolutionise traditional chemicals and materials manufacturing.
According to the 2021 Q1 SynBioBeta market report, the first quarter of 2021 more than quadrupled the number of investments in synthetic biology companies compared in the previous Q1 2020 record, and more than ten-fold higher than Q1 investments from only four years ago. The current financing market has been further buoyed by the strong sentiment that science will lead us out of this pandemic crisis, especially as more people are focused on healthcare – a subsector of synthetic biology. The healthcare industry as a whole, however, is not the only sector seeing increased investment from the global pandemic, although several companies are also developing biotech-based solutions to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Sweden-based Circa Group announced early this year that its Cyrene™ levoglucosenone-derived solvent had been used in research to effectively extract hesperidin, which is being studied to help tackle COVID as it binds to the virus’ key proteins and counteracts cell-damaging effects triggered by infection and inflammation. Last month, the company also noted the potential production of high-purity poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles using Cyrene™, which opens up a more sustainable and safer replacement for current solvents used in drug delivery systems and medical implants. Circa Group went public in March this year on Euronext Growth Oslo with a post-money market valuation of around NOK 2 billion (~€194 million). The proceeds will be used to build a 1 ktpa ReSolute plant in France, which will produce Cyrene™ and to further develop the company’s portfolio of chemical derivatives. The facility is expected to start commissioning in year-end 2022.
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