Danish Yummowia Project Leverages Syn Bio to Transform Yeast into Mycoprotein Meat

Yummowia, a project spin-off from the Technical University of Denmark led by Professor Irina Borodina to develop an engineered mycoprotein meat alternative from yeast, has been accepted into the Bio Studio accelerator program of the BioInnovation Institute (BII) in Denmark.

“Our vision is to create food products, tailor-made on the molecular level”

Backed by a maximum grant of €1 million per year for up to three years, BII will assist the project with business development expertise, intellectual property support, access to an investor network, and wet lab and office infrastructure.

BII’s Bio Studio program supports world-leading entrepreneurial principal investigators (PI) who want to translate innovative research ideas into new solutions to benefit planetary and human health. Additionally, BII, with its Venture Lab accelerator, helps grow and scale startups such as FÆRM, which is crafting the next generation of plant-based cheese.

BioInnovation Institute Denmark
© BioInnovation Institute (BII)

Sustainable, affordable, and nutritious

The Yummowia project argues that meat production has led to environmental, ethical, and health issues creating a need for viable alternatives that are both delicious, nutritious, and affordable. These alternatives comprise only 0.5% of the estimated 1.4 trillion USD market due to their high cost or lack of taste. 

The project’s ultimate goal is to develop an “accessible, scrumptious, nutritious, and economical” food source that can be manufactured without harming the planet.

Louise Clemmensen, director of science strategy at BII, commented: “We are pleased to add the Yummowia project to our Bio Studio portfolio, drawing on Irina’s successful track record and expertise as an innovative and entrepreneurial Principal Investigator. Synthetic biology holds potential to exploit and develop new resources to produce sustainable, affordable, and nutritious foods and tapping into a global meat alternative market that is set for exceptional growth in the coming years.”

Professor Irina Borodina
Professor Irina Borodina © DTU-Technical University of Denmark

Yarrowia, the yeast 

The project takes its name from Yarrowia, the yeast chosen by Prof. Borodina due to its biological characteristics and potential to produce proteins and, consequently, create meat alternatives.

Throughout the program, Yummowia aims to create an initial minimum viable product (MVP) of a “holistically engineered” mycoprotein meat alternative. The MVP will show the capacity of the project’s platform technology to lay the groundwork for gaining investments and establishing a spin-out company at the end of the program. 

Professor Borodina, PI at the Technical University of Denmark, is an expert in yeast metabolic engineering. She co-founded BioPhero, a bio-based agricultural pheromones company, serving as CEO and CSO until its acquisition by FNC Corporation in 2022 for 200 million USD.

“Our vision is to create food products, tailor-made on the molecular level to provide the desired flavor, texture, and nutrition people are accustomed to, but also to support several of the UN sustainable development goals, having a positive impact on the planet,” Professor Borodina said.

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