5 Top BioTech Startups Developing Algae-Based Solutions

We analyzed 278 biotech startups developing algae-based solutions. Redono, SunOleo, Primary Ocean, Inalve & Lumen Bioscience develop 5 top solutions you should watch out for. Learn more in our Global Startup Heat Map!

Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on innovative solutions for the biotech sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we want to share our insights with you. This time, you will discover 5 promising algae-based solutions.

Heat Map: 5 Top Algae-Based Solutions

Using the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally, we looked at innovation in the field of biotechnology. For this research, we identified 278 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.

The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & scaleups developing innovative algae-based solutions. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 278 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.


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Which startups develop the other 273 solutions?


Redono – Microalgae Cultivation

Microalgae are a diverse group of photosynthetic microbes that find applications in biotechnology. Since they are easy to grow, startups cultivate microalgae to grow a range of products from food and animal feed to high-value chemicals. To increase the yield of products from algal systems, startups use genetic engineering techniques and also optimize the production process using metabolic control analysis.

Finnish startup Redono provides microalgae cultivation solutions. The startup’s BioAlgae unit cultivates microalgae species such as H. pluvialis and A. protothecoides in tubular photobioreactors. The unit is designed to purify recycled water in industrial side-streams. The reactor produces 1 kg microalgae and purifies 1 cubic meter of water every day.

SunOleo – Photobioreactors

Photobioreactors are the bioreactors of choice for startups that use photosynthetic organisms, including algae. By closely monitoring the amount of light and other conditions, these reactors enable high levels of production. Since photosynthesis uses up carbon dioxide, photobioreactors are also suited for carbon capture. The captured carbon is then used to manufacture other products such as feed, food, or specialty chemicals.

SunOleo, a French startup, develops a new generation of photobioreactors for industrial microalgae production. The photobioreactor device contains a basin equipped with floating light well optics. The solution provides three-dimensional and deep vertical areas for production and thermal stability, low shear, and ambient light for microalgae growth. The startup offers turnkey solutions for photobioreactors ranging from 170 to 6.000 liters.

Primary Ocean – Sustainable Seaweed Products

Seaweed is abundant in nature and is a form of biomass that has been in use as a food source, particularly in Asian cultures. Biotech startups farm seaweed to extract derivative chemicals for the pharma and food sectors. Seaweed farms need none to minimal external nutrients and offer a sustainable method for the production of carbon-based chemicals. Sustainable seaweed biotechnology is particularly promising for coastal economies.

Primary Ocean, a US-based startup, builds macroalgae cultivation and processing systems. The integrated seaweed biotech solution helps reverse climate change by enabling seaweed cultivation and commercialization. The startup processes farmed seaweed in biorefineries, before converting it into sustainable products such as bioplastic and organic fertilizer. The extract of brown seaweeds promotes plant growth without harming the environment and is an ingredient in the production of the fertilizer.

Inalve – Animal Feed

Growing animal feed crops at an industrial scale diverts valuable land away from food crops. Moreover, the amount of feed used to grow one kilogram of animal-based food is highly unsustainable. Algae, on the other hand, is rich in protein, inexpensive to grow, and more sustainable than industrially-grown feed crops. This method of growing animal feed eliminates the use of land altogether when farmed at sea or grown in bioreactors.

French startup Inalve offers a sustainable algae development solution for the production of animal feed. Inalves’s proprietary solution grows the macroalgae in a biofilm. The startup’s algae are not genetically-modified but are selected for their high growth capacity and nutritional qualities. A biorefinery then processes the raw biomass paste into an animal feed which is either complete nutrition or rich in particular nutrients.

Lumen Bioscience – Pharma Manufacturing

Biologics are more complex, and therefore expensive to manufacture, as compared to chemical drugs. Pharma manufacturing startups are working on more cost-efficient product systems to produce biologics. For example, certain algae naturally express high levels of proteins. For pharma companies, that translates to a higher yield of therapeutics as compared to other production systems, such as bacteria or yeast.

The US-based startup Lumen Bioscience manufactures biologics in an algal system. The startup engineers spirulina, a popular superfood, into a production system for therapeutics. Since algae are photosynthetic, the process is cheap and readily scalable, making it a cost-effective method for the manufacture of oral biologics.

What About The Other 273 Solutions?

While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence and enable you to achieve your goals faster. The 5 algae-based solutions showcased above are promising examples out of the 278 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.

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