What does your startup do and what is your mission?
Christian: Biofect Innovations is on a mission to sustainably bring high-value B2B protein ingredients to the food system, to support the creation of eco-conscious plant-based products.
By combining synthetic biology with fermentation technology, Biofect creates unique microbes capable of efficiently producing proteins that are structurally and functionally equivalent to those found in nature. With our technology, we create animal-free analogs of animal ingredients and functional plant ingredients such as high-intensity protein sweeteners.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
John: As a biotech company that is harnessing the power of microbes, we were inspired by the triumph of insulin in revolutionising medicine. Only 40 years ago, this widely used product came from the animal-agriculture industry.
Until the 1980s, around twenty thousand animals had to be killed in order to make less than half a kilogram of insulin. But then, it was discovered that, by combining biotechnology and the traditional ‘beer-brewing’ fermentation processes, bacteria could be ‘taught’ to produce insulin – without killing a single animal and at a far lower cost.
With this approach, insulin production was reimagined in a kinder, more sustainable, and more cost-effective manner. We’re using this same technology to sustainably recreate some of nature’s most resource-demanding ingredients, such as animal proteins. We’re committed to using our technology to make a positive impact, and we’re always looking for new ways to achieve this goal!
Tell us about your team.
John: We are a diverse team of four PhD founders specialising in biotechnology who are skilled in taking our scientific ideas from theory to practice. Dr Christian Delos Santos (CEO) is a scientist with more than 10 years’ experience in industry and academia and a proven track record of success in developing new technologies. In addition, he has a deep understanding of the biotech industry and is well-connected with other leaders in the field.
Christian: We’re also fortunate to have John Abousawan leading our business-development. John is a serial entrepreneur who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table. He previously launched an online vegan e-commerce platform, so he knows a thing or two about building a successful business. But more importantly, he has the drive and determination to make our startup a success.