SG’s Allozymes raises $5m seed funding led by Temasek unit Xora Innovation

An automated machine works on purification of potential hepatitis C virus drug candidate at the Gilead Sciences Inc. lab in Foster City, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Singapore-based synthetic biology startup Allozymes has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Xora Innovation, the deep science investment arm of Temasek Holdings. The round was also joined by SOSV, TI Platform Management and Entrepreneur First.

Allozymes was founded in 2019 by Peyman Salehian and Akbar Vahidi, two PhD scientists from the National University of Singapore. It focuses on enzyme engineering, which Allozymes believes will play an increasingly crucial role in the bio-manufacturing of industrial ingredients across food, pharma, cosmetics and fuel sectors.

Enzymes are autonomous nano-scale biomachines that build or break molecules down to provide energy, weaponry and construction material for living cells, explained Dr. Akbar Vahidi, CTO of Allozymes. Nature takes millions of years to evolve enzymes, but bioengineering advances mean this can now be done in a matter of weeks.

However, the process of doing this today is still time-consuming and costly, which has prevented the wider adoption for industrial and commercial use.

Allozyme is tackling this issue by developing a platform that analyses and maps millions of enzyme variants per day. This matchmaking process creates a data trove of insights which will help boost the likelihood of developing effective, fit-for-purpose enzyme for commercial applications.

According to the firm, Allozymes has already demonstrated the ability to produce novel functional enzymes through pilot projects with pharma, agri-food, and personal care companies, at a fraction of the time and cost, compared to robotics technology. These enzymes include oxidases, reductases, isomerases, and hydrolases, workhouse enzymes of industrial biotechnology.

“Our biotechnology platform enables the sustainable and economical production of natural ingredients for a broad array of industrial applications, everything from sweeteners, to natural colors, to vitamins, personal care and cosmetic ingredients, for a start,” said Dr Peyman Salehian, CEO of Allozymes.

“Whether for food, fashion, fuels, or electronics, Allozymes enables commercial access to custom enzymes at unprecedented speed, scale and quality. Embedded in the fastest-growing sustainable products market in the world, Allozymes is well-positioned with a unique value proposition for ESG-minded partners in the region and beyond,” said Donna See, CEO of Xora Innovation.

Over time, Allozyme plans to develop this into a library that will allow ingredient manufacturers to search its dataset to find the right enzymes for their needs and improve their available enzymes.

The fundraising proceeds will be used to establish a Singapore-based manufacturing and business infrastructure, as it foresees strong demand from the ASEAN and broader APAC region.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.