Suppliers' News

Antimicrobial peptides for aquaculture without antibiotics

Peptobiotics has raised a USD 6.2 million Series A to commercialize its antimicrobial peptide technology to replace the use of antibiotics.

Jhee Hong and Jon In Lab (1) (2)
Jhee Hong, co-founder & CTO, and Jonathan Berter, co-founder and CEO
April 11, 2024

Singapore startup, Peptobiotics, has raised a USD 6.2 million Series A to commercialize its antimicrobial peptide technology to replace the use of antibiotics in agriculture. The round was led by Hatch Blue, as one of the first investments from their newly launched USD 81 million Blue Revolution Fund.

The startup’s first product targets the aquaculture industry, where bacterial infections cost shrimp farmers billions in losses each year. Peptobiotics is commercializing recombinant antimicrobial peptides – these are naturally occurring bacteria-inhibiting proteins that are a first-line defense in the immune system of many organisms. The human genome alone is estimated to code for more than 100 distinct antimicrobial peptide genes, with thousands more found throughout the tree of life. Antimicrobial peptides can kill bacteria as efficiently as antibiotics, but most have a different mode of action that does not lead to antibiotic resistance. Since they are produced naturally by the body, they are thought to be generally safer and less prone to potentially harmful side effects than traditional antibiotics.

However, despite decades of research, the commercialization of antimicrobial peptides has been held back by the lack of an efficient manufacturing technology. Peptobiotics uses novel biotechnology to drastically bring down the manufacturing costs of even the most complex antimicrobial peptides.

“Our breakthrough was screening through thousands of peptides to find the ones that could have real efficacy in agriculture, then figuring out the biotechnology innovations needed to produce them on an industrial scale at a price point acceptable to our customers,” said Koh Jhee Hong, co-founder & CTO of Peptobiotics.

“We see great potential for impact by applying Peptobiotics’ technology in the aquaculture sector, where disease stands tall as one of the most challenging barriers to sustainable production and antibiotic abuse remains a key public health concern,” said Supriya Srinivasan, managing partner at Hatch’s Blue Revolution Fund.

Co-founder and CEO, Jonathan Bester, said, “In 2023, we took our technology out of the lab and turned it into a real manufacturing process. In 2024, the Series A gives us the working capital to produce larger commercial volumes so that we can solve the industry’s disease challenges and cut antibiotics out of the food supply chain”.

The round was also joined by a cohort of leading agritech strategics and VCs. New investors included Singapore’s SEEDS Capital, France’s Seventure Partners, leading diversified Australian agribusiness GrainCorp, and Farmabase – the largest animal medicine company for poultry and swine in LATAM. Participating existing investors include Trendlines Agrifood Fund, Ponderosa VC, The Yield Lab Asia Pacific, and others.

Peptobiotics previously won Singapore’s SINERGY Synthetic Biology Award in 2021, and in 2022 finished first place amongst over 3,600 startups in Singapore’s annual Slingshot Global Startup Pitching Competition. Since then, they have validated their antibiotic replacement product across trials in multiple countries and achieved milestones in scaling up production.