NEW YORK – Amfora, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company using gene editing to enhance the nutritional density of food, has raised a total of $7 million in a Series B venture round following a new undisclosed investment from BayWa, an agricultural trader based in Munich, Germany.
Amfora will use the funds to support its protein-enhancing technologies for food and feed crops. The firm uses CRISPR gene editing to control the balance between protein and carbohydrates in plants, enabling crops to produce and store more protein at the expense of starch and fiber, according to a statement.
The firm is initially focused on developing soy as a low-cost, high-density protein source to replace animal protein, in part because in addition to the large amounts of water and land needed to support meat production, livestock is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, the firm said.
Amfora announced earlier this year that Leaps by Bayer and Spruce Capital Partners had participated in the company's initial Series B financing.
"We are delighted to have BayWa join us in supporting Amfora in our shared mission of developing a sustainable protein supply globally, enabling farmers to grow more nutritionally dense crops while reducing environmental impact," Juergen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer, said in a statement.
Marion Meyer, chief strategy and innovation officer of BayWa and managing director of BayWa Venture, said in a statement that the group's investment reflects its "belief in the transformational potential of Amfora's technology and the ability to enhance plant protein production while addressing global food security and reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture."
Amfora CEO Lloyd Kunimoto said in a statement that the proceeds from the Series B financing will also allow the firm to move forward with the development of other crops such as rice and wheat with improved nutritional profiles "that will help to combat the global epidemics in obesity and diabetes while addressing the global crisis in food security and human nutritional needs."
Amfora raised $5 million in Series A financing in 2017 and licensed CRISPR technology from DowDuPont's Corteva Agriscience and the Broad Institute in 2019.