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Food Dive: Elo Life Systems raises $24.5M for molecular farmed monk fruit sweeteners

February 16, 2023

group of people walking out of a buildingTo solve some of the biggest problems in the food system today, a new set of tools are needed, Elo Life Systems CEO Todd Rands said.

The molecular farming company just closed its $24.5 million Series A funding round, which will help it develop a new natural sweetener developed in plants bioengineered with genetic information taken from the monk fruit.

The round was led by existing investors, including AccelR8, Novo Holdings and DCVC Bio. The funds will go toward moving forward with U.S. regulatory approval, building pilot-scale processing capabilities and market-testing the sweetener.

Elo’s molecular farming process takes advantage of a plant’s ability to be a “biofactory” that naturally mass produces different substances, Rands said. The company uses bioengineering to modify the genes of a plant in order for it to produce something useful. Elo is working on two projects now: the monk fruit sweetener and a project with Dole to make Cavendish bananas that can resist a fungus that threatens the crop.

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