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Debut Biotech Raised $22.6 million

Debut Biotech, a two-year-old startup, thinks cell-free enzymes are the way to become the next big bio manufacturer. The company raised $22.6 million in series A funds Thursday to prove that out.CEO Joshua Britton said that the fresh proceeds will help fund a 26,000-square-foot facility in San Diego that is slated to be operational in March or April of next year. Debut Biotech currently has a 5,000-square-foot research and development facility in the city. The company is focused on scaling biomanufacturing quicker and producing ingredients not available from traditional cell-based fermentation.

This involves using sustainable feedstocks in place of petrochemicals. The company says this limits the amount of space, water and unsustainable inputs needed. Britton said that traditional fermentation has a good place in biomanufacturing. The cell-free biomanufacturing part of the company is another tool.

Series A, led by Material Impact, will help Debut deliver on three main partnerships the company has formed in recent months and make do on more partnerships in the pipeline. Debut Biotech inked a multi-million dollar deal over the next several years with fine chemicals company DIC in late May. The collaboration entails producing natural colour ingredients for use in food, cosmetics and health products.

Royal DSM also tapped Debut’s platform to create natural ingredients for use in personal health, food and lifestyle products. The agreement, disclosed in May, starts with a proof of concept of Debut’s cell-free method. The synthetic biology space has seen two high-profile transactions in recent months. Ginkgo Bioworks struck a $2.5 billion special purpose acquisition company deal in May, and cell-free biomanufacturer GreenLight Biosciences was valued at $1.2 billion after inking a blank-check merger.

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