Novo pumps $97.1M into Danish bioproduction startup 21st.BIO

Stethoscope on dollars
Danish startup 21st.BIO got a $97.1 million investment from Novo Holdings that will be used to build the company's first manufacturing facility focused on scaling up the production of proteins and peptides. (Foremniakowski/GettyImages)

Novo Holdings will sink $97.1 million into 21st.BIO, a Danish bioproduction startup focused on scaling up the manufacture of proteins and peptides.

21st.BIO, which launched in 2020, uses Novozyme technology to develop the right expression platform for large-scale production of molecules by testing them through various expression platforms such as fungi, yeast or bacteria. The best-performing strains are identified, allowing customers to produce their product in bigger quantities at acceptable costs, the company said.

“Many brilliant industrial biotech ideas never succeed, because production challenges result in too high price points for the final product,” Thomas Schmidt, chief executive of 21st.BIO, said in a statement. “We can help establish the right technology for producing novel molecules and peptides and hence help innovators successfully make the difficult step from innovation to big business and impact for the planet.”

The investment will allow 21st.BIO to build its first manufacturing site, Schmidt said, though details of the facility weren’t disclosed. The company currently operates in Denmark and California. 

Novo Holdings, which also owns Novozymes, manages the Novo Nordisk Foundation's assets. The company has made dozens of investments in biotech and other companies in recent years.

RELATED: Novo Nordisk Foundation puts up €100M for green manufacturing

For instance, as part of its efforts to make its operations more sustainable, Novo pumped €100 million ($112 million) into Biosustain, a research center at the Technical University of Denmark that pioneers renewable alternatives to drugs, consumer goods and other products typically made from fossil fuels or rare plant materials.