A Glasgow University-spinout firm which is seeking to develop environmentally-friendly insecticides has secured £1.3m backing from its latest fundraising round to support the next stage of its bio-pesticides trials, it announced yesterday.
Solasta Bio claims to have developed the “world’s first” technology for insect control products that are based in nature rather than synthetic chemicals, and which aim to target insects while protecting other beneficial pollinators such as bees. The new funding injection will be used to take trials of the biopesticide from the laboratory into real-world settings, with a view to launching its products to market in 2027, the company said.
Professor Shireen Davies, CEO of Solasta Biosaid the fundraise would allow the firm to accelerate its research and development plans and move towards a series A fundraise next year.
“The global market for insecticides has been under intense scrutiny for many years now, with growing demands on food production requiring greater levels of crop protection, counterbalanced by heightened concerns for the environment,” she said. “Through our proprietary technology platform, we have developed a world-leading solution which represents a profound change for how insect control agents are discovered, and a step change in how we not only protect our crops worldwide, but also our ecosystem.”
Investors in this funding round include Agtech venture fund The Yield Lab Europe, SIS Ventures and members of private investor syndicate Cambridge Agritech. Initial funding was provided by Scottish Enterprise and UKI2S, which also pledged again in the latest fundraise.
Rob Halliday, senior investment manager of SIS Ventures, described Solasta Bio’s technology as a “gamechanger”.
“To deal with the unique challenges of today, the global Agribusiness industry is crying out for environmentally friendly innovative new approaches to effective pest-control,” he said. “By delivering the next generation of nature inspired green insecticides, Solasta Bio will create profound environmental and societal impact.”
The development comes at a time when the global insecticides market, which is currently dominated by synthetic chemicals and has a projected value of $22bn, is under pressure amid growing consumer preference for non-chemical products and insects building increasing resistance to insecticides.
Commenting on the announcement, Victoria Carmichael, director of strategic investment at founding investors Scottish Enterprise, said Solasta Bio’s products couldhelp benefit the environment, conserve natural resources and preserve biodiversity.
“The rate at which Scotland’s academic institutions continue to produce game-changing spinouts is staggering, with Solasta being another great example of an entrepreneurial culture that transforms world-leading research into real-world applications,” she said. “Scottish Enterprise is proud to have supported its development through our High Growth Spinout Programme and look forward to exploring how we can further work with the company to help it achieve its growth ambitions and scale.”