NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra, a multinational publicly traded dairy co-operative, has invested in the seed funding round of Vivici, a Dutch start-up producing animal-free dairy proteins through precision fermentation.

Another founding investor is ingredients supplier DSM-Firmenich, which made the investment through its venture arm DSM-Firmenich Venturing.

“Vivici is an exciting opportunity to combine DSM-Firmenich’s world-leading precision fermentation expertise with Fonterra’s world-leading dairy science and technology,” Komal Mistry-Mehta, Fonterra’s chief innovation and brand officer, said.

“This partnership aligns well with the co-op’s strategy to be a leader in dairy innovation and science.”

In a statement announcing the funding, Vivici revealed that alternative sources of protein, complementary to traditional agriculture, are needed to feed the world sustainably, efficiently and safely.

The start-up noted that the global demand for protein is predicted to nearly double by 2050 and current ways of producing protein alone cannot be scaled sustainably to meet that demand.

“I’m thrilled to work with such an experienced team, that knows what it takes to not only develop but manufacture, register and commercialise great ingredients,” Stephan van Sint Fiet, CEO of Vivici said.

“Together, we will build Vivici into a precision fermentation leader that contributes to a future-proof food system.”

Last year, the Dutch government announced the world’s largest government grant for cellular agriculture, according to Vivici.

The US$64.9 million investment package aimed to support, amongst other things, developing fundamental and applied knowledge, making scale-up facilities available and ensuring access to well-qualified people.

Earlier this year, Fonterra invested in other nine companies and formed the Precision Fermentation Alliance to serve as an industry voice and global convener for the precision fermentation industry.

In addition, Fonterra revealed its new corporate venture arm, Nutrition Science Solutions.

It disclosed its first investment through the new unit, spending US$10m for a minority shareholding in Pendulum, a San Francisco-based biotech company making dietary supplements.

DSM-Firmenich Venturing also backed Meatable company which recently raised US$35m in new funding, taking the total invested in the business to date to US$95m.

The cultivated meat company said it would use the new funds to scale and speed up the point when it commercially launches its pork products.

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