Sofinnova Partners’ Green Seed Fund announces it has completed its first investment in MetGen, a start-up company that develops industrial enzymes with applications in pulp and paper, advanced bio-fuels and bio-chemicals industries. MetGen raises a total of €2.2M in a financing round led by Sofinnova Green Seed Fund with participation from Finnish Industry Investment and Finnvera.
MetGen was created in 2006 by two entrepreneurs, Alex Michine and Dr. Alex Azhayev. The Finnish start-up company has developed a technology that dramatically improves the action of natural enzymes and adapts them for use in harsh industrial conditions. When used in pulp and paper industry the enzymes allow significant energy savings and greener sustainable operations. MetGen’s enzymes enable sustainable production of low cost sugars for second generation biofuels, helping to convert waste or non-food biomass to sugars. The funds raised will accelerate MetGen’s commercial roll-out and development of new products. The company, which currently runs industrial trials with several European partners, will initially market its solutions in Europe (Scandinavia, Germany, France) and North America. Alex Michine, CEO and Founder of MetGen commented: “We are glad to welcome Sofinnova Partners as an investor, their experience, network and dedication to this sector will help us develop our technology platform and market our solutions”.
MetGen is Sofinnnova Green Seed Fund’s first investment. The fund is exclusively dedicated to seed investments in renewable chemistry and industrial biotech across Europe – an emerging market at the crossroads of chemistry and agriculture – counting among its investors industrial players such as Solvay, Siclaé, Sofiprotéol and Unigrains, as well as CDC Entreprises. Josko Bobanovic, Partner at Sofinnova Partners responsible for the fund, mentions: “MetGen fits the profile of the companies we are looking for: created by visionary entrepreneurs, developing targeted solutions that enable developments of large and growing markets.” This is the first investment following the announcement in December 2012 of Sofinnova Green Seed Fund’s first closing of at €22.5 M.
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, France. For 40 years, the firm has backed nearly 500 companies at different stages of their development – pure creations, spin-offs, as well as turnaround situations – and worked alongside Europe’s key entrepreneurs in the Life Sciences industry. With €1.3 billion of funds under management, Sofinnova Partners has created market leaders with its experienced team and hands-on approach in building portfolio companies through to exit.
MetGen is a Finnish company that develops disruptive enzymatic products that enable significant efficiency improvements in the pulp and paper and biofuels industries, as well as removal of toxic micro-pollutants from waste water. The company offers enzymatic solutions for the pre-treatment of a variety of lingo-cellulosic biomass. MetGen provides enzymes that dramatically save energy at the refining step in the pulp and paper industry. In the advanced biofuel sector, MetGen enables production of low cost lingo-cellulosic sugars. MetGen’s competitive advantage is the ability to tailor or adapt enzymes to meet each customer’s segment specific needs.
Source: Sofinnova Partners, press release, 2013-02-11.