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Sustainable animal-free egg protein: Onego Bio hatches $40M to ramp up production

Onego Bio founders
Picture credits: Onego Bio

Eggs are an essential part of food businesses, but with the egg market constantly fluctuating due to avian flu and increased demand for cage-free, manufacturers are challenged to find a viable replacement with a consistent, reliable, and safe supply of high-quality protein at an accessible price. This calls for a long-term sustainable solution for chicken eggs and Onego Bio addresses this challenge. 

The US-Finnish food-biotech startup works with the mission to rethink eggs and give people access to sustainable, tasty, and healthy food. 

Secures $40M funding 

Onego Bio just secured $40 million in Series A funding led by the Japanese-Nordic VC NordicNinja (invested in Griffin and Arbonics) alongside equity investments from Tesi and EIT Food, existing investors Agronomics,, Holdix, and Turret, and strategic partners. The Series A round also includes $10 million in non-dilutive funding from Business Finland, a public organisation under the Finnish Government. 

This is said to be one of the largest Series A rounds in the Nordics, bringing the company’s total funding to $56 million. Onego Bio will use the investment to drive commercialisation and commence manufacturing of egg protein via precision fermentation. It will use the funding to fuel its North American go-to-market strategy, including scaling up to industrial-level production and expanding its US commercial team. 

“Onego Bio is taking all the right steps to commercialise in record time. They are a next-generation precision fermentation company, with a clear path to industrialisation, go-to-market, and profitability. With technology that is designed to scale and such a strong team, they really stand out,” said Tomosaku Sohara, Managing Partner, NordicNinja. “In less than two years, Onego is already working with major global food companies and is staged to disrupt the $330 billion egg market and create system-level change, accelerating the green transition.” 

NordicNinja’s Principal Claes Mikko Nilsen added: “Onego is well placed to scale successfully, due to its highly experienced team who have world-leading research expertise, and extensive experience in scaling companies from startups to large corporations. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this journey.”

Jim Mellon, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Agronomics said, “We have been highly impressed with Onego’s capabilities and vision from the very beginning. By repurposing a well-established technology from the enzyme industry for food protein production, they are well-positioned to scale to the massive volumes needed to future-proof the supply of the world’s most versatile and popular food protein.” 

Sustainable egg production

Onego Bio was founded in 2022 as a spinoff from VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland) by alternative protein pioneer Maija Itkonen and precision fermentation expert Christopher Landowski. 

Currently, Onego partners with co-manufacturers while finalising its in-house manufacturing plans. A single Onego full-scale manufacturing unit boasts a two-million-liter fermentation capacity, effectively replacing an egg farm with six million laying hens. 

This is said to translate to a dramatic 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 95% decrease in land use. To further minimise environmental impact, the company has ongoing projects focused on using alternative feedstocks, ultimately eliminating their reliance on corn sugar and grasslands.

Bioalbumen®, an animal-free egg protein

The company uses a patented world-class fungal fermentation technology which is touted to be superior in productivity and scalability with a demonstrated industrial production potential of 120 g/L in 250 000 L fermentation vessels allowing it to reach competitive price points with the conventional way of making egg protein.

Its revolutionary animal-free egg protein Bioalbumen® is bioidentical to the major protein in chicken egg white, ovalbumin. It contains all essential amino acids, has the highest possible protein digestibility score PDCAAS of 1.0, and delivers a whopping >90 g protein per 100 g. 

With a clean neutral flavour and superior functional properties, it’s an ideal industrial ingredient for replacing eggs and enhancing the texture, taste, and performance of a wide range of applications across the food industry. 

Currently, Onego Bio collaborates with over 25 well-known CPG companies, integrating Bioalbumen® into their innovation pipeline for a wide range of products, including baked goods, confectionery, snacks, sauces, pasta, meat alternatives, and more. 

“We’re incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a passionate team and like-minded investors who share our vision for systemic change in the food system. This powerful combination has fueled our rapid growth, allowing us to deliver a revolutionary ingredient that is unmatched in terms of functionality, taste, and texture”, said Maija Itkonen, Co-founder and CEO of Onego Bio. “Egg protein remains one of nature’s most perfect foods; this single ingredient supplies more than 20 different functional benefits from aeration to emulsification and gelation. While it may sound scientific, the value is in our mouths every day with velvety cake structures, silky-smooth mayonnaises, crispy nugget batterings, or those chewy-fluffy nougat fillings, just to mention a few.”

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