27.05.2022 - Green technology

Alternative plants raises 500,000 EUR

The biotechnology company Alternative Plants has closed a 500,000-euro investment round. Investors include Buildit Latvia and SOSV, with whom the company has already had successful cooperation in the early development phase, as well as a new investor, Givaldi.

SIA Alternative Plants is a Latvian company registered in 2017, whose core business is the production of cosmetic active ingredients. This is done through a biotechnological approach by culturing plant cells. Having attracted investment from several venture capital funds, the company has set up a pilot plant in Riga. Alternative Plants has developed four raw materials with proven effectiveness in improving skin health and delaying aging. So far, the company has raised around 500,000 euros from various funding sources and EU-funded projects.

Increasing Production Capacity

During the year, investments in production equipment will increase the production capacity of existing products. The new investment will accelerate the development of new products already launched, enabling the company to bring at least two new raw materials to the market in the next few years. Customer and partner satisfaction, already at an early stage, points to growth potential also in wider export markets. The financing will allow the achievement of the new customer targets for 2022.

The company has invested in a pilot plant to provide the infrastructure for the efficient production of bio-active substances using plant cell cultures. The first three products, raw materials with proven positive effects on skin health, have already been commercialized. Alternative Plants claims that these raw materials are distinguished by their skin-protective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, proven in laboratory tests. Compared to competing for raw materials, the biotechnological production method used makes these raw materials more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Collaboration With European Plant Biotechnology Research Institutes

In the last two years, Alternative Plants has launched three EU-funded research projects, of which it is a partner in two domestic ERDF practical research projects and a participant in the EU co-funded 17-partner Horizon2020 consortium InnoCoCells project.

In the project, together with European plant biotechnology research institutes and companies, Alternative Plants is developing both efficient and sustainable raw materials for plant-based cosmetics and guidelines for testing and regulating such products.

The 7.9-million-euro study is funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the Finnish Technical Research Centre VVT, wrote Labs of Latvia. VTT project coordinator Kirsi Marja Oksman explained that the main objective of the project is to develop sustainable natural cosmetic ingredients using innovative production processes based on plants and plant cell cultures grown in greenhouse, field, and aeroponic systems, as well as from agricultural residues. 

“Plants that are threatened by over-harvesting will be cultivated in a sustainable and cost-effective way to ensure that the new products do not pose a threat to biodiversity or the environment,” she says.

Promoting Residue-Free Production

The InnoCoCells project is looking at how the ingredients used in the new cosmetic products can be verified, with the involvement of manufacturers, to be suitable for the current market situation, which is dominated by quality-oriented and eco-friendly consumers.

“This is a unique opportunity to be at the epicentre of the ecosystem of development of plant-based cosmetic raw materials and their extraction technologies, which will help us grow as a company and give each of us individually the opportunity to choose quality cosmetic products made with environmentally friendly ingredients in the future,” said Mārtiņš Borodušķis, co-founder of Alternative Plants.

As an equal partner in the project, Alternative Plants participates not only in the activities related to the development of plant cell lines, and the characterization of the chemical composition but also in the safety and efficacy assessment of the newly developed cosmetic raw materials, thus being present at all critical stages of the development cycle of such new products. “This is a great opportunity for us and for the Latvian biotech industry to both strengthen our capacity and to reaffirm our competencies to our partners,” says Anna Ramata-Stunda, co-founder of Alternative Plants.

The InnCoCells project will test the bioactivity of raw materials and carry out extensive laboratory testing using human cell and tissue test systems. The most promising plant extracts and natural products with high biological activity and the most environmentally friendly production process will be taken forward for further research with the involvement of volunteers. None of the products will be tested on animals or contain ingredients of animal origin.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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