University of Alicante BioFlyTech TBF raises 16 million euros from investment firm

Moira Capital Partners —the investment firm — promotes this way one of the largest European manufacturers of animal protein from insects
A larva biomass production plant will be installed in the Levante area, with the capacity to efficiently and environmentally-sustainable process 9,000 tons per year of vegetable by-products

Alicante. 04 September 2018

Moira Capital Partners, an investment firm led by Javier Loizaga, joins renowned University of Alicante Spanish entomologist and researcher Santos Rojo by investing 16 million euros in BioFlyTech. This firm specialises in the controlled artificial breeding of insects for conversion into high-quality proteins and fats, and its goal is to turn it into one of the largest European companies of industrial production of insects. It is the most powerful investment carried out in this emerging sector in Spain.

BioFlyTech is a TBF (Technology-Based Firm) registered by the University of Alicante and located at the Alicante Science Park. The firm has acquired a unique knowledge of selective breeding of insects for more than 20 years of research. Founded in 2012 by PhD lecturer Santos Rojo and his research team, the firm thus receives the necessary support to become the largest Spanish producer of insect proteins, which, in accordance with current regulations, will be aimed at becoming an essential ingredient (animal protein) of feed for farmed fish, replacing or complementing fish meal, not easy to replace so far.

BioFlyTech has specialised in selective breeding of different types of dipterous insects and in particular with the black soldier fly. It is one of the insects with the greatest potential for industrial production due to its huge capacity for reproduction, its rapid growth, its ability to process an incredible range of by-products and the large percentage of high-quality protein produced. This species does not bite or is involved in the transmission of any type of disease to humans, animals or plants.

Investment stages

Moira Capital will contribute with 6 million euros to BioFlyTech in a first stage to build and start up the largest plant in Spain for industrial production of insects that is expected to produce almost one thousand tons of insect protein per year. Also, the plant will require a processing capacity of about 9,000 tons of vegetable waste.

After the first phase, the firm will carry out a second capital increase of 10 million euros, with which, in 2019, Moira will reach 80% of BioFlyTech capital with the aim of investing in the construction of new industrial plants and facilities for larva breeding. This will allow them to produce more than 20,000 and 5,000 tons of high-quality animal protein and fat, respectively over a period of 6 years. Their main target will be aquaculture, thus, using a new ingredient whose traceability, homogeneity and high protein content are extremely valued. Farmed fish market currently accounts for more than 50% of the fish consumed worldwide and has a limiting factor in the fishmeal due to their growing shortage, volatility, decreasing quality and cost. In this way, BioFlyTech is expected to reach sales of approximately 40 million euros in 2024.

In this regard, Moira Capital Partners Chairman Javier Loizaga stated that it is a unique investment opportunity in the emerging sector of protein meals and fats from insects, intended as a benchmark in future animal feed.

According to FAO data, the planet is expected to host at least 9,500 million inhabitants in 2015. This population density, never reached before, will face new challenges in our food system based on agriculture, aquaculture and terrestrial livestock in 2050. This has led to the massive production of insects as a new state-of-the-art livestock, with the ability to provide the essential ingredients for traditional animal nutrition, and thus face the huge needs of animal protein that will be needed on the planet, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In fact, this international organisation has been promoting the introduction of insects in animal feed for a long time to improve food security in the face of foreseeable population growth, since they provide a sustainable solution with high economic, social and environmental impact.

According to University of Alicante lecturer Santos Rojos, the transformation of waste and by-products from the agri-food industry into a new source of proteins and other added value benefits is one of the advantages of the technology proposed by BioFlyTech. The aim is to make a highly efficient contribution to the optimisation of resources and to the reduction or elimination of the problems associated with traditional livestock production such as the use of space, water consumption, production of greenhouse gases, etc.

The firm is now in advanced negotiations with a number of national and international producers of different types of by-products and agricultural residues that provide the necessary development means for larvae feeding. This will strength circular economy and contribute to making the most of them.

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