Precision fermentation, while innovative for creating bio-based products like chemicals, medicines, and cultivated meat, remains expensive and challenging to scale up. Izote Biosciences, a burgeoning startup, is pioneering a novel approach that allows bacteria to function anaerobically within a bioreactor. This breakthrough method led to a successful pre-seed funding round of $2.6 million in October.
Named after El Salvador’s national flower, Izote was co-founded by Victor Manuel Reyes-Umaña, a microbiologist and fermentation expert, and Samuel Atwood, a former McKinsey management consultant, in 2022. The duo aims to revolutionize the fermentation process through synthetic biology, enabling the production of cost-effective, bio-based molecules for various industries.
Izote’s method diverges significantly from traditional fermentation. Instead of relying on oxygen, it utilizes a salt-like molecule vastly more soluble than oxygen, simplifying the bioreactor design and significantly reducing costs. This innovation promises to lower capital expenses by over 70% and double gross margins, positioning Izote to disrupt the fragrance and flavor industries initially, with plans to expand into food and cosmetics.
Despite being in the pre-revenue phase, Izote has attracted significant venture capital interest, raising $2.6 million from notable investors. The company is on a mission to identify launch molecules and prove their productivity superiority within 18 months, challenging the synthetic biology sector’s norms by prioritizing economic viability from the outset.