Shireen Davies: excited by results
Scottish agritech firm Solasta Bio has raised £4 million to scale up the development of its nature-based pesticides, the first of their kind to be developed worldwide.
Investment in this pre-Series A funding round was led by Yield Lab Europe. Other investors include Rubio Impact Ventures, Scottish Enterprise, Cavallo Ventures, SIS Ventures, UKI2S, and several private agritech investors.
Funding includes grant support from Innovate UK’s Transforming Food Production competition and Scottish Enterprise. This latest round brings the total raised by Solasta Bio to £5.5m.
Based in Glasgow, the firm develops environmentally-friendly Insect Control Agents (ICAs) that meet a global need for new and effective crop protection. These ICAs also preserve the ecosystem by protecting beneficial insects such as bees.
The company has developed the world’s first technology platform for creating neuropeptide-based insect control products that are nature-inspired rather than selected from a synthetic chemistry library.
With its latest funding secured, Solasta Bio is aiming to scale up its UK and US operations, expand its technical and commercial teams, creating 25 jobs, accelerate the development of its technology platform and target new markets.
The company is led by co-founding management team Shireen Davies CEO; Professor Julian Dow, CSO; and former BASF senior executive Dr Paul Bernasconi, alongside chairman Dr Rob Wylie, CFO David Armour, and chief commercial officer, Dr Daphne Preuss. There is a team of 25 R&D, commercial staff and consultants.
The global insecticides market is currently dominated by synthetic chemicals accounting for 94% of insect control solutions, with a projected 2028 value of $27 billion.
Shireen Davies said: “We’ve spent the past 18 months developing our platform and validating peptide candidates with expert third parties and commercial partners. We’re really excited by the results and feel that we’re ready to take the next step towards commercialising our technology.
“With the issue of food security, and effective crop protection becoming an increasingly pressing issue for the agriculture industry and governments worldwide, there is an urgent need for sustainable environmentally-friendly alternatives to current synthetic pesticides.
“We’re confident that our technology provides the solution and has the potential to make a huge impact.”