Ankur Capital, an India-based leading early-stage venture capital fund focused on transformative technologies in deep science tech and climate tech today announced that they have invested seed capital in two early stage biotech startups – MyoWorks and D-NOME.
While Indian biotech has shown astounding growth, funding for the sector has continued to be a challenge due to regulatory concerns, high risks and long gestation periods. With climate change, the pandemic and various concerns around food security and the growing population, biotech has the potential to offer solutions to some of the most pressing problems being faced by the world today which makes it an attractive focus area for Ankur Capital.
Founded by Nihal Singh and Shubhankar Takle, MyoWorks is building edible fungal mycelium-based 2D and 3D scaffolds which will support the production of cultivated meat products. The last decade has seen cultured meat production costs decrease by multiple folds, but one of the key challenges that remains is to replicate the multicellular complexity in the animal meat architecture. Scaffolds that can mimic real tissue environments will help achieve faster consumer acceptance and reduce manufacturing costs further.
“This fundraise will be instrumental for us to achieve our technological milestones which will play a crucial role to help bring cultivated meat from the lab bench to people’s tables.” said Nihal Singh, Co-Founder, MyoWorks on the announcement.
The company aims to create an ecosystem of ancillary products that will facilitate any cultivated-meat company’s vision to replace real meat products with in-vitro meat.
Experts believe the cultivated meat market could grow to more than $25 billion by 2030. McKinsey reports that coupled with the innovations and economies of scale (annual production of more than 1.5 million tonnes), cultured meat will attain cost parity by 2030 and should be available for less than $5 per pound of meat. Scaffolds are expected to contribute close to 5% of the meat weight, making it a multibillion-dollar industry itself.
D-NOME is developing a molecular diagnostic platform solution based on loop mediated isothermal amplification technology (D-LAMP) with applications in human infectious diseases, livestock screening, agriculture molecular techniques and next generation genomic sequencing. The demand for early detection of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, HIV, HPV, UTIs, HAIs as well as oncology and genetic testing is increasing due to their rising prevalence across the world.
“As D-NOME is working towards building an effective disease diagnostics tool utilizing synthetic biology and genomics, the current fundraise takes us to the next milestone closer to our vision of bringing affordable personalized diagnostics to all.” said Divya Sriram, Co- Founder, D-NOME
The market for molecular diagnostics saw a growth of more than 230% YoY in 2019-20 and is valued at more than $ 20 billion. The major bottleneck for diagnostic labs and hospitals in scaling up molecular techniques like RT-PCR or sequencing are the high operational costs and delayed turnaround time. Founded by Divya Sriram and Sujoy Deb, the D-LAMP technology is a low cost alternative to PCR technology and has the potential to be used at the Point of Care (PoC).
“We are excited to expand our portfolio in the deep science space with two very exciting companies in mycelium-based scaffolds for cell-based meat and protein engineering for diagnostics in human and animal health. Both areas are ripe for disruptive technologies, and we are thrilled as Ankur to deepen our commitment to disruptive technologies” said Ritu Verma, Managing Partner, Ankur Capital.
About Ankur Capital
Ankur Capital is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in digital and deep science technology companies. Established in 2014, Ankur Capital looks to uncover and unlock opportunities in overlooked markets across India. They were the first institutional investors in notable companies including Captain Fresh (supply chain platform for animal proteins); Cropin (SaaS-based suite putting farms on the cloud); Rupifi (B2B BNPL platform powering MSME growth); String Bio (synthetic biology platform converting methane into alternative proteins); and Vegrow (smart matchmaking platform for fruits). From seed to scale, Ankur Capital currently has 25 companies in its portfolio across two funds.