How this Swiss biotech startup is teaming up with multinationals to build the bioeconomy at scale

In conversation with David Brandes of Planetary

Almost all of the bioreactor capacity in the world is used by the pharmaceutical industry – leaving very minimal existing options for biomanufacturing food. 

Today’s bioreactor capacity could barely feed 0.01% of the global population. 

This lack of bioreactor capacity is stunting the growth of startups and causing major biomanufacturing bottlenecks

Scaling novel foods is now the industry’s biggest problem. 

Enter planetary. Who are paving the way with their first commercial-scale facility set to open in Switzerland later this year, designed to produce both biomass and precision fermented compounds. 

Perhaps less well known about their full-stack fermentation platform is that, in addition to building fermentation infrastructure to operate as a CDMO for the precision fermentation space, they are producing their own mycoprotein through biomass fermentation to sell as a B2B ingredient, starting with meat and dairy substitutes. 

As well as supporting companies to scale up and commercialize their processes in precision fermentation, planetary also directly supplies food producers with mycoprotein, a healthy, versatile ingredient, contributing to the diversification of the global protein supply.

And they’ve announced partnerships with multinational companies to get there faster.

Partnerships to Fuel the Bioeconomy

“At planetary, we are firm believers in the wide-scale adaptation of bio-based products and the solidification of a global bioeconomy,” Eleanor McSweeney from planetary tells us.

With an overarching mission to build the bioeconomy, together, they’re teaming up to bolster the successful implementation and adaptation of bio-based products around the globe.

An up-and-coming manufacturing and technology partner, the biotech startup is rolling out industrial-scale fermentation facilities and utilising their fermentation and engineering expertise to produce bio-based products at low cost. 

Most recently, they partnered with Konica Minolta, one of the world leaders in imaging and sensing technologies, to develop advanced sensing, artificial intelligence (AI), and bioprocess data-driven solutions to control and optimize fermentation processes in real-time. 

By coupling process monitoring with AI, planetary were able to identify and adjust process parameters live, resulting in more efficient fermentations and reduced COGS. 

Additionally, they recently partnered with flavours and fragrances giant Givaudan to expand their fermentation capabilities and further the adoption of fermentation-derived foods and ingredients. 

“Givaudan's manufacturing and flavoring capabilities with planetary’s fermentation expertise is a winning combination, and one which we are excited to build upon in 2024 and beyond,” shares Julian Iacovelli

As well as ongoing partnerships with industry players ranging from startups to established food companies, we should “expect to see more collaborations in the space,” - hints Julian.

Looking Back 

Since they joined us at last year’s HackSummit, they have hit 4 key milestones:

- Finalised their first factory concept in Switzerland to start production later this year, for both the Swiss and wider European markets.

- Raised sufficient capital to stand up the fermentation facility as a mix of strategic and commercial debt and leasing.

- Fostered fruitful partnerships to expand their production capabilities, valorize industry side-streams, and develop cutting edge fermentation control technologies. 

- Helped their partners optimise and scale-up their fermentation processes, a critical step in the road to commercialisation.

Looking Forward

They’re coming back to Lausanne this June 13-14th and ready to meet with innovative thinkers, potential collaborators, and forward-thinking investors at the intersection of Food and ClimateTech spaces. 

We’ll be joined by Co-Founder and CEO David, as well as Eleanor from the team, ready to meet:

- Food producers looking to explore or expand their range of sustainable products
- Fellow startups
with similar values who face similar challenges as they scale up
- Researchers and technologists
pioneering new methods or technologies in aerobic fermentation and sustainable food production
- Investors
looking to take part in their growth, expansion and development

What’s next

Starting with food, planetary plans to first solidify its position as a leader in the mycoprotein market.

Followed by a profound impact on global sustainability efforts by facilitating the production of precision fermentation-derived food ingredients. 

As the bioeconomy grows, they’ll expand their portfolio to include materials and cosmetics. 

Their aspirations include expanding production capabilities for both mycoprotein and precision fermentation to meet global demand, innovating in product development to enhance the appeal of mycoprotein, and ultimately reducing the food industry's carbon footprint. 

By focusing on both the scalability of their operations and the sustainability of their practices on a planetary-level.

Hear from David Brandes, CEO and Co-Founder live at the HackSummit and be sure to attend a live cooking demonstration on the versatility of planetary’s mycoprotein ingredients.