New ExpandFibre Ecosystem member Synbio Powerlabs develops biotechnologies with precision fermentation

New ExpandFibre Ecosystem member Synbio Powerlabs develops biotechnologies with precision fermentation

Members 21.11.2023

ExpandFibre team had the pleasure to discuss with Melissa Hendrén from Synbio Powerlabs, which is an interesting start-up developing disruptive biotechnologies with precision fermentation, ranging from lab-scale experiments to large-scale pilot runs. The doors of their pilot facilities are open to companies not yet ready to invest in their own laboratories for testing out their ideas.

With degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biosystems and Biomaterials Engineering from Aalto University, Melissa Hendrén joined Synbio Powerlabs in the summer of 2023 as Chief Innovation Officer. Equipped with passion for synthetic biology innovations and strong expertise in yeast strain engineering and cultivation, she continues to drive groundbreaking projects at Synbio Powerlabs.

Synbio Powerlabs provides open access to companies wishing to pilot biotechnology innovations

Melissa explains that Synbio Powerlabs is a start-up which saw its daylight in 2022. It provides open access piloting services to a wide variety of customers. However, the innovation behind the company has been going on for much longer. Synbio Powerhouse, which may be familiar to many ExpandFibre Ecosystem members is a closely related umbrella innovation cluster and ecosystem, under which several other projects are being organised.  

Melissa says: “Synbio Powerlabs enables the development of disruptive biotechnologies with precision fermentation. Our services range from lab-scale experiments to large-scale pilot runs. We offer scale-up piloting services for demanding fermentation, helping companies start their commercialisation activities and scale up next-level biotech innovations.” The company offers fermentation piloting with a unique knowledge and its tailored infrastructure setup offers upscaling opportunities for clients throughout the bioeconomy value chain, including food-grade bioprocesses.

Facilities in Otaniemi to be complemented by Lappeenranta biotechnology pilot plant

The Otaniemi Lab in Espoo boasts microbe labs for stream engineering, small-scale fermentation (one 15-litre and one 50-litre reactors) and analysis, as well as facilities for mycoprotein production. By end of this year, the Otaniemi Fermentation Lab will be expanded with a new set of 50-litre bioreactors, enabling more and larger customer projects.

Supported by 2.99 M€ in funding from Business Finland and EU, Synbio Powerlabs is opening a new state-of-the-art facility in Lappeenranta. A US-based investment company led by Alejandro Antalich, Nutrecon LLC (“Nutrecon”), has secured an additional 3.61 M€ investment to complete the required capital to build the state-of-the-art facility. The facility, planned to be opened early 2024, is part of a broad collaborative project to promote the next generation circular bioeconomy through biotechnology. It will further enable companies and researchers to upscale biotechnology innovations to pre-commercial scale, a pilot line of one 50-litre, one 500-litre, one 10.000-litre and two 27.000-litre bioreactors.

Side streams from forestry actors in ExpandFibre Ecosystem are of interest to Synbio Powerlabs

How does this all link to the ExpandFibre Ecosystem? Synbio Powerlabs will also be pioneering a process to recover valuable side streams and residual sugars for precision fermentation from forest industry’s residual fractions. Thus actors in the forest biomaterial sector should be interested to follow this development closely. According to Melissa, Synbio Powerlabs is already conducting pilot work in this field with a fellow ExpandFibre Ecosystem member Nordic Bioproducts Group, who are sharing offices in Otaniemi with Synbio Powerlabs. At the moment, the company is evaluating which microbes are the most suitable to use in the fermentation of forest industry’s sugar-rich side streams. The optimization of this bioprocess could become a game changer for the big players of the pulp and paper industry who have large amounts of the required side streams for further processing and valorization.

Welcome to collaborate and try out the piloting services!

To conclude, Melissa welcomes collaboration activities with the other members of the ExpandFibre Ecosystem, be it piloting services with Synbio Powerlabs or networking in the Synbio Powerhouse cluster.

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