Berlin-based synthetic biology startup Cambrium scored a cash infusion that will help fund its work using biology and machine learning to create biomaterials for apparel and footwear. The company secured 8 million euros ($9.5 million) in seed funding from Essential Capital, SNR, Valor Equity Partners and HOF Capital.
Cambrium takes novel molecules with previously unseen functionalities, processing them through a technology platform that uses artificial intelligence, automation and synthetic biology to create alternatives to materials made with petrochemicals or animal-derived ingredients.
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The company launched its first molecular ingredient, NovaColl, which is a micro-molecular, 100 percent skin-identical collagen used for skincare products. The seed funds will be used to capitalize on that success and scale manufacturing and commercial activities toward full replacement of traditional animal-derived collagen. Cambrium also will be able to accelerate its product pipeline and introduce molecules for new applications and industries over the next two years.
“We founded Cambrium to accelerate past nature’s innovation cycle, for novel molecules that can quickly scale to material impact,” said Duffy. “I’m proud that we have been able to generate meaningful revenue with a bioindustrial ingredient at such an early, pre-seed stage, and that we’ve won support from the right investors for our next stage of growth.”
Cambrium has raised $11 million euros to date, with prior funding coming from AI investment platform Merantix.
“The marriage of synthetic biology and AI is rewriting the playbook for molecular innovation,” said Ron Zori, Essential Capital, which led the funding round. “Cambrium is leading the way in this broader shift to reinvent the building blocks of industry, one molecule at a time. We believe their computational biology platform, as demonstrated by the rapid development and launch of NovaColl has the ability to repeatedly translate scientific innovation into high-performance, sustainable molecules supporting a variety of sectors, and we’re thrilled to be part of this journey.”
Cambrium joins a spate of biomaterial makers who’ve seen an influx of investor funding over the past few weeks. Plant-based material science company Algenesis announced it secured $5 million in seed round funding earlier this week to expand its bio-based material used in footwear to other uses, such as waterproof textiles. And last week, biomaterials startup Gozen received $3.3 million in seed funding to accelerate the development and scaling of its biomaterial alternative leather product, Lunaform.