Paleo Opens New Facility in Belgium for Animal-Free Heme, Reveals Expansion Plans for 2024

On the back of its successful €12 million funding round last year, biotech company Paleo has opened a new pilot-scale facility in Leven, Belgium, at the Bio-Incubator Leuven

The company, which specializes in developing proteins via precision fermentation, aims to use the new laboratory facilities to accelerate the production and commercialization of its flagship product, animal-free heme.

Speaking to vegconomist, the company outlined its plans for 2024, including making significant progress in bringing its products to market and preparing for a Series B investment round.

Last year, the company opened an office in Singapore to serve future activities in the Asia-Pacific region, where market approval for novel foods takes less time than in Europe.

Andy de Jong (L), Pierre Donck, and Hermes Sanctorum (R).
Andy de Jong (L), Pierre Donck, and Hermes Sanctorum (R) © Paleo

Expansion of the leadership team

As part of the 2024 strategy, Paleo said it is expanding its leadership team. The company has appointed Pierre Donck, a former executive at BENEO, as Chief Business Officer to lead the firm’s commercial team in developing products. “His dedication to shaping sustainable food production aligns perfectly with Paleo’s mission,” the company shared on social media. 

In addition to Donck, Paleo has appointed a new CTO, but her or his name will not be revealed until next week.

“We expect 2024 to be another pivotal year for Paleo. To achieve all this, we are bringing in key figures from the broader industry to join Paleo’s leadership team. Additionally, we are offering a renewed opportunity for investors to partake in our journey as Paleo prepares for a new round of investments this year,” Hermes Sanctorum, co-founder and CEO of Paleo, shared with vegconomist.

Paleo has opened a new pilot-scale facility in Belgium at the Bio-Incubator Leuven.
Image courtesy of Paleo

Bridging the flavor gap

By producing animal-free heme proteins for the plant-based sector, Paleo aims to bridge the flavor gap between plant-based and animal meat to accelerate the adoption of plant-based diets.

Paleo claims that adding heme, a protein found in animal muscles, to plant-based meat provides the color (a meaty hue that becomes brown when cooking), smell, taste, and aromatic experience of ‘real’ meat. In addition, heme is easily absorbed and provides iron.

Using precision fermentation technology, Paleo has released six new non-GMO heme variations that are bioidentical to their animal equivalents: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, tuna, and mammoth.

The company recently expanded to the pet food industry to make plant-based pet food taste like animal meat. The firm is considering developing proteins from rats, mice, and rabbits specifically for pet food products.

“As a growing company with significant ambitions, these facilities are crucial for our operations. From the two of us starting the company a little over three years ago, we have now multiplied our workforce by more than tenfold,” Sanctorum added.

>> Click here to go to Cultivated X where you will see a familiar layout and a focus solely on content regarding cellular agriculture, including fermentation-enabled products, and with more granular categories.

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