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.