Glasgow Uni spinout lands £1.3 million to develop next generation of green insecticides

A Glasgow University spinout specialising in the next generation of green insecticides has secured seven-figure funding as it works on its groundbreaking technology.

Solasta Bio develops environmentally-friendly products that are said to meet a global need for new and effective crop protection. These “biopesticides” also preserve the ecosystem by protecting critical insects such as bees.

The firm, which has secured seed investment of £1.3 million, 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.

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Investors in the funding round include the Yield Lab Europe, SIS Ventures, members of Cambridge Agritech and UKI2S, which also provided access to the UKI2S managed Innovate UK Sub Fund grant. Founding investors UKI2S and Scottish Enterprise provided pre-seed funding.

Professor Shireen Davies, CEO of Glasgow University spinout business Solasta Bio.Professor Shireen Davies, CEO of Glasgow University spinout business Solasta Bio.
Professor Shireen Davies, CEO of Glasgow University spinout business Solasta Bio.

With the latest funding secured, the firm is aiming to take the trials of its biopesticides out of the laboratory and into real-world settings. It is looking to bring its first biopesticides to market in 2027, around half the time traditionally taken by synthetic pest control products.

Chief executive Shireen Davies said: “The global market for insecticides has been under intense scrutiny for many years now, with growing demands on food production requiring greater levels of crop protection, counterbalanced by heightened concerns for the environment.

“Through our proprietary technology platform, we have developed a world-leading solution which represents a profound change for how insect control agents are discovered, and a step change in how we not only protect our crops worldwide, but also our ecosystem.”

Rob Halliday, senior investment manager, SIS Ventures, said: “SIS Ventures is proud to welcome Solasta Bio to our outstanding portfolio of Scottish mission-led businesses and we look forward to working closely with the world-class management team and our co-investment partners towards realising Solasta Bio’s significant potential.

“To deal with the unique challenges of today, the global agribusiness industry is crying out for environmentally friendly innovative new approaches to effective pest-control.

“We believe Solasta Bio’s technology is a game changer in this regard. By delivering the next generation of nature inspired green insecticides, Solasta Bio will create profound environmental and societal impact.”

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