Agronomics puts EUR 6.9m in animal-free egg firm Onego Bio

Cellular agriculture investor Agronomics announced a €6.9m (€5.77m) investment in Onego Bio on Tuesday – a company developing “sustainable and animal-free” egg protein.

The AIM-traded firm said its investment was part of a €10m seed fundraising round.

Agronomics said it would hold a fully-diluted equity stake of 19.94%, and would have the right to a board seat.

The Onego Bio position would represent an estimated portfolio weighting, based on the company’s last reported net asset value, of 4.21%.

Agronomics said it was funding the investment using cash from its own resources.

It described Onego Bio as a spin-out from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, which is using “precision fermentation” to develop egg proteins without the need for traditional agriculture, aiming to provide “sustainable, delicious and animal-free” egg protein.

Onego Bio was founded in Helsinki in 2021 by chief executive officer Maija Itkonen, chief technology officer Chris Landowski, and chief operating officer Jussi Joensuu, after “many years” of developing and researching their precision fermentation technology at VTT.

Demand for alternative egg white protein was said to be growing due to environmental and welfare concerns associated with animal husbandry, as well as continued global pressure on suppliers to go cage-free.

Being founded in 2021, Onego Bio was yet to generate revenue, incur significant costs or report its net assets.

“We are highly impressed with the Onego team’s capabilities, background, and their vision for the company,” said Agronomics executive director Jim Mellon.

“With their technology, they have the potential to produce bioalbumen at an industrial scale and at a price point that is competitive with conventional egg production which has major implications for the environment and animal welfare.

“Egg white production has a huge total addressable market and there is a necessity to utilise precision fermentation tools to meet the demand in a sustainable manner.”

At 1330 GMT, shares in Agronomics were down 2.78% at 17.5p.