Press Release – February 2014
Microphyt completes equity financing round of EUR 2 million to develop production and R&D and to strengthen its business development activity.
Microphyt, a company specialized in microalgae biotechnology, announced today that it has raised EUR 2 million ($2.5 million) in equity financing from a broad syndicate of life sciences investors. “Amorcage Technologique Investissement”, a fund managed by CEA Investissement, led the financing with the funds “Emergence Innovation 1” from Sofimac Partners, Soridec, Jeremie LR and existing investors.
Microphyt has developed since 2007, an innovative proprietary technology for the production of microalgae, enabling the company to offer industrial-scale supply of new, specific microalgae molecules, including from fragile, slow-growing or biofilm-forming species. Microphyt is currently operating two industrial-sized photobioreactors at its production platform located nearby Montpellier, France. These photobioreactors have already allowed the company to deliver innovative microalgae-based products to several customers in personal care, nutrition and health industries.
This new financing will allow Microphyt to timely execute its ongoing and planned product development program based on a differentiated and promising pipeline of bioactive molecules originating from the untapped microalgae diversity.
Within the next few months, Microphyt will complete and upgrade its production and R&D facilities, up to 8 additional 5000 liters – photobioreactors and laboratory equipment. Building on these additional investments supported by extensive collaborative R&D programs, Microphyt is well on track to continue offering innovative microalgae-based solutions to its customers in a sustainable manner and at an industrial scale.
Dr. Arnaud Muller-Feuga, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Microphyt commented :
We made very substantial progress in the last four years and are delighted to get the support of highly experienced venture investors. I would like to thank our initial shareholders and Microphyt’s team for their strong confidence in the company and I look forward to working with our new investors as we enter into the exciting next stage of development.
Vincent Usache, Chief Executive Officer of Microphyt added :
To have received such a financial support of new equity capital is a clear illustration of investor’s confidence in Microphyt’s promising product pipeline, team and business plan. It provides Microphyt with sufficient additional cash to execute its ambitious development programs which are expected to yield significant value creating products to our customers worldwide.
Dr. Celia Hart from CEA Investissement said :
Microphyt has already demonstrated its ability to deliver several customers at an industrial scale. We are delighted to support the company in its next development phase, i.e. to further develop its production capabilities and a propriety product portfolio.
Cécile Thebault from Sofimac Partners added :
This ambitious venture convinced us because of its with identified and clear commercial perspectives based on added-value and natural solutions for nutraceuticals, cosmetics and health industries.
For further information please contact:
Microphyt, Vincent Usache, CEO
Tel +33 (0)684 582 079
vincent.usache at microphyt.eu
About Microphyt (www.microphyt.eu)
Microphyt is a biotechnology company which researches, develops, produces and markets innovative natural bioactive products from microalgae. Its solutions are intended to address the needs of personal-care, food and health-care industries worldwide, through a differentiated and sustainable approach. Proprietary technologies allow controlled and industrial-scale supply of microalgae biomass and extracts. Industrial scale photobioreactors developed and patented by Microphyt are designed to produce specific strains of microalgae by preserving cell integrity and yielding commercial quantities of slow-growing or biofilm-forming species. Therefore, these technologies enable Microphyt’s customers to access innovative natural bioactive products from the untapped microalgae diversity. Microphyt owns currently 3 patents. Founded in 2007 nearby Montpellier (France) by Arnaud Muller-Feuga, a well-known researcher in the field of microalgae biotechnology, and joined by Michel Lemar a senior executive, expert in bioproductions systems for health industries, Microphyt has currently 8 employees.
About CEA Investissement (www.cea-investissement.com)
CEA Investissement, a subsidiary of the CEA, is a specialist in seed investment in technology companies. Its proximity to public research laboratories and the venture capital industry has made it a key player in launching and financing startup companies in France. To date it has funded over 50 companies. With 15 years of experience in seed investment, CEA Investissement has developed a method of investing and monitoring that has generated several successful outcomes, such as the companies TRACIT and ULIS. The investment in Microphyt was made through the “Amorcage Technologique Investissement” (ATI) fund, managed by CEA Investissement. The CEA, BPI (using the FNA), EDF, SAFRAN and BIOMERIEUX are investors in ATI.
About Sofimac Partners (www.sofimacpartners.com)
Sofimac Partners is an independent, multiregional private equity company that relies on its special strengths, expertise and geographical proximity, to successfully drive its growing business (€240 million in assets under management), across a wide range of sectors :
- general (all industrial and service sectors)
- and technological sectors (ICT and NICT, multimedia and medical technologies) with a specific expertise in Healthcare/biotechnologies/Medtech.
via a comprehensive and flexible range of financing possibilities offered by a broad portfolio of dedicated investment funds and specialized teams of investors made up of experts in both finance and engineering.
The headquarter of Sofimac Partners is in Clermont-Ferrand, with offices in Orleans, Lyon and Limoges, providing operational coverage of the whole of central and south-eastern France. It raised in 2012 a new multisectoral seed capital fund, FCPR Emergence Innovation 1, subscribed by the National Seed Fund within the context of the Program “Investing for the future”.
About SORIDEC (www.soridec.fr)
SORIDEC is a Venture Capital firm, based in Montpellier. The company has € 60 million under active management through three investment vehicles SORIDEC 1, SORIDEC 2 and JEREMIE LR. Soridec manages seed and venture funds, allowing itself to invest from 100 K€ to 3 M€ in the early institutional rounds of high growth companies located in Languedoc-Roussillon. Its active portfolio of more than 60 companies is highly diversified by sectors with more than half of them being start-ups.
Download the PDF File corresponding to this press release : Press release Microphyt 140214
From research to industry
On 20 March 2013, CEA organized the conference “From research to industry“. The opportunity for the industry to discover the technological capabilities of the CEA.
Microphyt participated and had a stand at this occasion to present its photobioreactor and to review the progress it achieved. Find the interview led on this occasion by following the link below:
Testimony partnership R&D : Microphyt (fr)
Microphyt and CEA : to develop together applications of photosynthetic microalgae
The company Microphyt outsources part of its R & D at CEA in the framework of a collaboration agreement for four years on the implementation of the program BOLERO. It concerns the development of mass production processes and the development of molecules of interest in green microalgae, including the genus Chlamydomonas.
Microphyt has developed and implemented an efficient technology for mass production of microalgae, especially for the controlled cultivation of fragile species. While current industrial production of microalgae is from only a handful of species, the proprietary technology limits the mechanical stress in photobioreactors and allows extending the scope of cultivable species.
These species include those of the genus Chlamydomonas, particularly studied with 7000 scientific articles and 130 patents, including from CEA. Without mass production system adapted to this species, some laboratory results on commercial applications could not be transferred to industry. In its industrial reactors, Microphyt has managed to achieve flows that are not harmful to the circulating cells. Commissioned in 2009 and 2010, the two units of 5000 L currently available have produced more than 400 kg of dry biomass of delicate species, some of which enter into the composition of dermo-cosmetic products now on the market.
From July to October 2012, Microphyt has managed to cultivate continuously a strain of Chlamydomonas in significant amounts and in different metabolic conditions to study their influence on the biochemical profile. “It changes the rules and allows us to run the program BOLERO to further improve the performance of our technology and complete our range of molecules,” says Arnaud Muller-Feuga, the Chairman of Microphyt.
As a matter of fact, the program BOLERO includes identifying the most promising molecules of interest and optimizing their synthesis by the selection of improved strains in order to increase production yields. It also includes the development of the technology by a transfer of knowledge acquired by the CEA in solar technology.
Several CEA teams are involved in this partnership: CEA-Liten Institute is in charge of technological research on renewable energy technologies, and CEA-iBEB explores the potential of microalgae as part of its platform Heliobiotec located in Cadarache.
Founded in 2009 in Cadarache – South of France, the platform HelioBiotec gathers around high level equipment more than twenty researchers, engineers, technicians, post-docs and PhD students, which are intended to explore the mechanisms of processing and storage of solar energy by microalgae, and to develop applications in various fields, including energy. In 2012, investment in R & D dedicated to biofuels is growing on the Cadarache center with the participation of CEA-Liten teams, particularly responsible for developing the RT&D processes and technologies of cultivation, harvesting and valorization of microalgae.
Click to download the press release : Microphyt and CEA sign a consortium agreement (En)
Rio+20, microalgae and 3rd generation biofuels
Shot in our facility for the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, you can find below a link to a report on Microphyt on the subject of the biofuels of third generation.
RIO+20 | MICROPHYT : LES CARBURANTS DE 3ÈME GÉNÉRATION
Microphyt starts a production in a 5,000 L photobioreactor of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a flagellated, hence delicate species. Unless mistake, such a mass production has never been realised so far.
C. reinhardtii is the most studied microalgae species with 7,000 publications and 145 patents. Many laboratories have developped its capacity to produce molecules of interest, especially triacylglycerol convertible to biodiesel and proteins of therapeutical interest.
Acting as a support for the webTv (SolutionsDurables.TV), this report presents a series of interviews on the the summit of Rio+20.
Microphyt, partner in GreenStars
Microphyt will participate actively as a private partner to develop the Institute of Excellence on decarbonized energy (IEED).
GreenStars, Towards a New Generation of Biofuels and Products with Micro-Algae
GreenStars, laureate of the French call for projects known as the “French Stimulus Initiative” (Investissementsd’Avenir*)Institute of Excellence on Carbon-Free Energies, federates a network of collaborative platforms bringing together all the players in the development of micro-algae in France. The primary goal by 2020 is to develop compounds of interest such as efficient biofuelsand high added value substanceswith micro-algae feeding on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and nutrients contained in waste. Led by INRA in collaboration with45 partners (public research, SMEs, multinationals, local authorities, competitiveness clusters), Greenstars aims at becoming, within five to ten years, one of the top Institutes of Excellence worldwide in the field of micro-algae bio-refinery.A budget of €160million for 10 years has been estimated, of which 20% come from public grants.
Micro-algae offer a potential for innovation in energy, chemistry, human nutrition, cosmetics and animal nutrition because of their intrinsic richness. Indeed, micro-algae are known for their extraordinary composition: including protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and pigments. They still offer a field of exploration to develop innovative products, natural and functional.
In the context of global strategic challenges involving the development of bio-energies, micro-algae could be a solution for the future and bring major economic development in ten years. Research initiatives and investments in the field of micro-algae for energy purposes have increased considerably: over $2billion investments and over 200 R&D projects were listed, mostly in the USA. 3rd generation biofuels can be produced using industrial CO2 or substrate from sewage waters, following a recycling strategy and a management of wastedue to human activity. Furthermore, the production can be performed on non-arable land. In addition, micro-algae are able to accumulate as much as half their weight in lipids, the primary matter for producing biofuels, which leads to potentially high productivity levels.
The Institute was conceived in order to give France an industrial vision of the complete production chainand at the same time to become a major player on an international scale. In order to achieve this goal, this network of collaborative platforms brings togethertop French research in every related scientific field, innovative SMEs involved in all products derived from algae and large firms concerned by thesemarkets.
GreenStars brings together three main strengths: it gathers real innovation capacities and premium infrastructures – equipped with consequent technologic means. And it unitesactors with all the skills in the field, from the physiology of micro-algae to the optimization of culture conditions through the extraction of products of interest or notions of eco-conception, computational modeling and simulation, social acceptance and economic analysis.
In the future and according to the results obtained, it could create jobs and new opportunities in the various industrial sectors. GreenStars will also participate in training engineers in competences that will be needed in order to create a strong and sustainable field in the future.
Starting 2016, GreenStars will have pre-industrial prototypes based on state-of-the-art technologies that will allow building a viable economic and environmental model.
*government subsidy for research projects addressing future challenges
|Green Stars at a glance:
- Research Organizations and Universities: Inra, Inria, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, CEA, l’IFP-EN,Université Montpellier 2 and Université Pierre et Marie Curie.
- Local Authorities: Communauté de Communes du Nord Bassin de Thau, Communauté d’Agglomération du Grand Narbonne, Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur, Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes, Région Languedoc Roussillon and Région Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur.
- CompetitivenessClusters: Trimatec, Mer PACA and Industries &Agro-Ressources.
- Companies: Air Liquide, ACRI, Alfa Laval, Algaestream, Algenics, Algu’Innov, Bioalgostral, EADS, Eco-Solution, Envolure, Fermentalg, Greensea, IDEE Aquaculture, La Compagnie du Vent-GDF Suez, Microphyt, NaskeoEnvironnement, Ondalys, Peugeot Citroën Automobiles, Rhodia, Roquette, Sofiprotéol, Soliance, Solvay, Suez Environnement, TIA, TOTAL, Véolia Environnement.
- 3 sites covering 50 hectares (over a 1000 are available) in Montpellier-Etang de Thau (headquarters at Ecosite de Mèze), Narbonne and Nice (Plaine du Var) on which the main installations will be established.
- Facilities provided by research labs such as the Environmental Biotechnology lab (INRA), the Marine Station of Sete (UM2/CNRS), the laboratory Ecology of Coastal Marine -ECOSYM (UM1-2/CNRS/IRD/Ifremer), the Oceanographic lab of Villefranche-sur-Mer (CNRS/UPMC) and the Inria Sophia Antipolis-Méditerranée research center, the Marine Station of Roscoff (CNRS/UPMC), the Cadarache Center (CEA) or Ifremer Nantes and Palavas.
- GreenStarsshouldhost 200 researchers, engineers and technicians.
- A mutual governance gathering all partners.
- An initial budget of €160 million.
Jean-Philippe Steyer – +33 (0)4 68 42 51 51 or Jean-Philippe.Steyer at supagro.inra.fr
INRA, UR50, Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l’Environnement,Narbonne
Jeremy Zuber – +33 (0)1 42 75 91 69 or jeremy.zuber at paris.inra.fr
Haematococcus pluvialis, a new step
The species Haematococcus pluvialis is well known for its productivity in the field of astaxanthin.
Before reaching this carotenoid, it is essential to have dense cultures of greenHaematococcus pluvialis.
The Microphyt photobioreactor confirmed its performance for the industrial production of this species weakened by the presence of flagella.
Put into production in January 2012, the culture is at its optimum for this period of the year, with a productivity of about 0,5 kg / day.
Microalgae in photobioreactor: 1 year of production on without interruption
On December 10, 2010, the Microphyt’s photobioreactor No. 2 was inoculated with strain Neochloris oleoabundans.
Since that date, production has been in accordance with specifications of the client. Production will continue until late February. We have just passed an important milestone in validating the possibility of producing microalgae for periods greater than one year. The daily production has fluctuated between 0.3 and 1.1 kg of dry matter per day, depending on the sunlight.
Meanwhile, production of Porphyridium cruentum in the reactor No. 1, which lasted five months and a half, has just been ended, showing also the ability of Microphyt to produce industrially marine species. Despite its bad reputation as a sticky species, the cleaning device worked perfectly, preventing the biofilm to develop.
The reactor 1 will host in January a new species of microalgae: Haematococcus pluvialis, interesting especially for its high content of astaxanthin.
Porphyridium cruentum: new products in our catalog
Microphyt diversifies its business proposals. Following frozen biomass, products resulting from the production are now available in dry form.
Porphyridium cruentum lyophilised powder
Porphyridium cruentum is shown in lyophilized form. The first batch of 9 kg was conducted on 7 and 8 November 2011.
This form of drying protects the inherent properties of the biomass. The concentrations of polysaccharides, phycoerythrin and carotenoids are fully preserved.
ALG’N'CHEM, 1st International Congress on Chemistry and Algae
Microphyt will actively participate in the first International Congress on Chemistry and Algae which will run from 7 to 10 November 2011 at the Corum in Montpellier.
During this congress, you may encounter and interact with Microphyt but also visit our company.
You may also attend three plenary discussion on the following subjects:
■ Algae, the cost ?
■ What raw materials from algae, and for which applications?
■ Biology, chemistry and process engineering to serve the alga-refinery
For further information, here are some links:
Alg’n'Chem Officiel Website
Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Territoriale de Montpellier
Tél. 04 66 89 36 16
100 kg of microalgae sold: Microphyt passes milestone
Since its first commercial delivery occurred in April 2010, Microphyt worked with obstinacy and method to develop its technology production of microalgae.
That was not without evil, various hitches of youth having come to oppose an unfolding of which the duration is always under estimated. These efforts were rewarded since the course of 100 kg dry biomass marketed was crossed in June 2011.
Two delicate species, which present biological activities for the dermo ‐ beauty care, were produced in the two photobioreactors of 5.000 L at a rate of approximately one kg of dry matter per day (either 5 kg of fresh matter).
The production of the first photobioreactor was stopped once the order delivered, and the third species, Porphyridiumcruentum, was produced from early August. The other photobioreactor has been in operation for 8 months, and will continue to produce the species in progress (Neochloris oleoabudans) at least until the end of the summer.
ComPress : overpasses 100 kg of delicate microalgae
Microphyt : recognized actor in Trimatec cluster
Trimatec cluster produced a video involving supported partners and corporate. Real tool for promoting the cluster, Microphyt is presented as a major actor for the production and the valorization of microalgae biomass.
Microphyt is presented from 2:49.
Trimatec : Microphyt honored
Microphyt company appears within the framework of a report on the Trimatec cluster. The subject related to the valorization of microalgae, and Microphyt is presented there like a major and promising actor in this field.
Microphyt delivers its first production
Microphyt delivers its first commercial production: a few tens kilograms of fresh biomass(18% dry matter) from a species having a biological activity of interest.
In doing so, Microphyt valid most of its choices made for its business model, especially its system of microalgae’s production.
France Info : The “chroniques-info-sciences” talk about Microphyt
Find interview conducted by Marie-Odile Montchicourt during the program “Information Sciences Chronicles” aired on November 7, 2008 on France Info.
Find below the english transcription of the audio file :
Radio interview – Info Science – 10th of November 2008 – 20:28: 36
The microalgae are sources of hope for our environment, as for our health. These unicellular beings that are found everywhere where there is light contain nuggets the discovery of which seems endless. Arnaud MULLER-FEUGA hello, you are engineer in agronomy, chairman of the very young company MICROPHYT. And you decided to use these microalgae for applications of interest for our society.
First these microalgae realize a considerable biomass and an exceptional biodiversity. With, between 200.000 and 2.000.000 species, they play a role in our ecosystem which is outstanding – since they are in particular responsible for more than half of the photosynthesis of the planet. And one found virtues to them in numerous sectors, in particular dermo beauty care, food complement, biofuel, production of oil, etc. Hence the knowledge of these microorganisms is hardly chipped and we will continue our effort to exploit this resource.
And how do you think of exploiting these virtues?
The first thing to do is to make safe the access to this new resource. And for this reason, therefore, it is necessary to implement new means of production, which are called photobioreactors and in which, therefore, one will cultivate these algae in a clonal way – that is to say from only one initial cell and this, therefore, in order to satisfy the market demands which are exerted in the fields that I have just indicated.
You will cultivate these microalgae at the request, in fact?
And all that, obviously, will be carried out in a spirit of total respect of the environment?
It is a matter indeed of being perfectly respectful and clean with respect to the environment and in particular, not to slacken to the atmosphere the CO2 which we will inject into our systems of production.
It was Arnaud MULLER-FEUGA, for MICROPHYT, finalist of the price 2008 of ALTRAN Foundation on the topic “reduction of atmospheric CO2”.
Defi CO2 : Participation to the Altran’s contest
Find the Microphyt’s video presentation for the competition of the 2008 Altran Foundation entitled “CO2 Challenge”