StringBio raises $20 million in Series B funding round
- by ABLE - 11 Jul, 2022
ABLE Member, String Bio Pvt Ltd, a biotech company based in Bengaluru, announced that it has raised close to $20 million in Series B funding round this July. New and existing investors including Woodside Energy Technologies, Ankur Capital, Dare Ventures, Redstart, Zenfold Ventures and others have joined the first close of $20 million of the Series B raise.
Woodside Energy Technologies Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of global energy company Woodside Energy Group Ltd (Woodside), has announced a $9.9 million equity investment in String Bio. It views String Bio as the developer of a patented process that can recycle greenhouse gases into value-added products such as feed for livestock.
Woodside is exploring the potential of String Bio’s carbon-to-products technology to support its decarbonisation efforts, targeting abatement of methane emissions at its operational sites. String Bio’s proprietary technology converts methane into a single-cell protein that could provide a sustainable alternative in animal and human nutrition as well as agriculture products, with a focus on improving the sustainability of crops and food production, land and water use.
Woodside and String Bio have also entered a Strategic Development Agreement (SDA) to explore opportunities for the potential commercial scale-up of String Bio’s technology. The String Bio investment, which is subject to conditions precedent, is part of Woodside’s target to spend US$5 billion on new energy products and lower-carbon services by 2030.
Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill said the company aimed to thrive through the energy transition with a resilient and diversified portfolio. “Our investment in String Bio builds on our ability to potentially abate greenhouse gases through the conversion of carbon into useful products. We believe String Bio’s technology could eventually be used to recycle methane at Woodside facilities. It could also be deployed at third-party sites with available biomethane such as landfill facilities and farms,” Meg O'Neill added.
String Bio CEO Dr Ezhil Subbian, a recipient of the United Nations’ Women Transforming India Award, said: “The vision for String Bio has been to leverage cutting-edge advances in biotechnology to enable better living with a significantly reduced environmental footprint.
“With the Woodside collaboration, we are taking a positive step to bring such solutions to market, solutions that are better for people and the planet.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s AR6 report, methane traps around 27 times the amount of heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and is responsible for a third of the global warming. Reducing methane emissions is one of the fastest opportunities we have to slow the rate of global warming. Agriculture and the Oil & Gas industry together account for 70% of methane emissions and adoption of emerging technologies can be critical to enabling net zero by 2050. The investment in this technology is an example of the energy and biotechnology sectors working toward a more sustainable future, advancing a technology that could contribute to a circular carbon economy.
String Bio has been one of the early entrants in this space and has built an innovative technology platform that leverages advances in biology, fermentation technology, chemistry and process engineering to convert the energy in methane into diverse value-added products. Products enabled by String’s platform range from protein ingredients for nutrition, to innovative crop inputs, to products for biodegradable polymers. The differentiated innovation delivers on decarbonization while increasing supply of key inputs for diverse sectors. String had previously set up its first multi-purpose gas fermentation facility in Bangalore that can run on methane from both natural gas and biogas. The current investment and collaboration will enable String to further drive the market growth of its products and strengthen its decarbonization impact.
This is the second big funding announcement by India's biotech start-ups recently. In April, Immuneel Therapeutics Pvt Ltd, co-founded by Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, raised around $15 million in a Series A funding round co-led by Eight Roads Ventures, True North and F-Prime Capital along with participation from existing investors.
Commenting on the funding, Dr. Kush M Parmar, Co-founder, Immuneel Therapeutics added, “Our goal is to provide patients in India with potentially transformative therapies and enable affordable access to CAR-T and other complex therapies. As we advance our lead programs, this financing will also allow us to continue building a committed and quality enterprise for global innovators to consider partnering with us to enable access for patients in the region.”
String Bio announced the first closure of its Series B round after raising $20 million (around Rs 156 crore), led by Woodside Energy, with participation from Ankur Capital, Dare Ventures, Redstart and Zenfold Ventures, among other investors.