Midlothian's Roslin Technologies invests in insect farming firm

Roslin Technologies – which describes itself as the UK’s specialist agritech venture builder – has invested in a Singapore-based business that farms black soldier fly insects to produce animal feed and fertiliser.

An adult black soldier fly, the larvae of which are used in Protenga’s process. Picture: Protenga.

The Scottish firm said that as part of its “ambitious” programme, a bespoke genetic nucleus facility is being built near its HQ at the Midlothian Science Zone, which will focus on applying enhanced breeding tech to develop improved insect lines together with Protenga for the global market.

The news comes after Roslin Technologies recently revealed that it was embarking on a £50 million second round capital raise, valuing it at more than £55m. The four-year-old business partners closely with the Roslin Institute, creator of Dolly the Sheep.

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Roslin Technologies' base in the Midlothian Science Zone. Picture: Andrew Smith/SG Photography.

Roslin also said the investments tie in with its focus on developing alternative protein sources to help overcome the impending global food deficit “and are central to Protenga’s mission to provide sustainable food sources to livestock, aquaculture and pets”.

The Scottish firm said growing insects uses less water, space, energy and time than other food sources. Additionally, Protenga’s production line generates organic material for fertiliser, through a process similar to composting. Roslin also said this initiative supports its strategy of building a “unique” agritech venture portfolio to develop sustainable businesses and value-chain offerings in protein production technology innovation.

The investment has been supported with co-funding from Seeds Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, helping the firm’s aim to support sustainable, innovative firms in new fast-growth markets.

Start of journey

Roslin Technologies chief executive Glen Illing said: “This investment is the start of our journey into the insect protein and nutrition market. Protenga has the right technologies, capabilities and culture to succeed in providing new sustainable production and waste bioconversion practices using black soldier fly.

"We are also excited about applying enhanced breeding technologies to develop improved insect lines from a new genetic nucleus facility to be built soon near Edinburgh. Protenga is at the cutting edge of sustainable protein production and is the next important building block in our portfolio of agritech ventures.”

Leo Wein, chief executive of Protenga, said: “We are very excited to partner with Roslin Technologies’ team to drive and scale up our insect production and bioconversion technologies together across our key markets. Production and bioconversion opportunities using the black soldier fly platform are enormous and working with Roslin Technologies provides the perfect opportunity to expand our capabilities.”

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