Leiden-based Pelagen, a biotech startup that manufactures bio-fabricated natural materials, has received investment from UNIIQ’s investment to develop its technology further. 

The exact amount of funding was not disclosed.

Councilor Fleur Spijker announced the investment at the Leiden Bio Science Park.

“We are extremely grateful for the investment from UNIIQ, and their recognition that deep innovation can only be achieved effectively when a multitude of stakeholders provide their support and expertise,” says Sasha Madhavji, CEO of Pelagen.

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Traditional production methods for materials like leather, wool, and fur have a significant environmental footprint. Large amounts of water, energy and chemicals are used during the production process.

For example, 15,000 litres of water are needed to produce just 1 kilogram of leather. 

Furthermore, the animals are treated as commodities rather than sentient beings, which raises ethical concerns.

Current alternatives, such as vegan leather or faux fur, are not always sustainable because they often contain plastic. 

The ‘look and feel’ of these alternatives often differs considerably from the original animal materials.

Here’s where Pelagen comes into play aiming to offer the best of both worlds.

Pelagen: What you need to know

Led by Sasha Madhavji, Pelagen specialises in engineering animal material molecules without using animals. It creates natural materials for eco-conscious consumers without harming the environment or animals.

At the core, Pelagens technology is based on the same components that are present in animal materials – the proteins in skin, hair and coat. 

By utilising these natural building blocks, Pelagen replicates high-quality materials in a laboratory setting, all without animal abuse, environmental strain, or compromising quality.

This approach not only reduces the harmful consequences on the environment but also tackles the ethical concerns associated with animal exploitation in the textile industry. 

UNIIQ Fund

UNIIQ is a €28.8M investment fund focused on the “proof-of-concept” phase. UNIIQ assists entrepreneurs in South Holland in bringing their innovative ideas to market more quickly.

The fund is managed by a team of investment specialists including Innovation Quarter, Leiden University, Erasmus MC, and TU Delft. 

Since 2021, UNIIQ has committed resources in Early Phase Financing (VFF), and an application for VFF is in accordance with the proven UNIIQ investment methodology. UNIIQ is made possible in part by the EU.

“UNIIQ believes it is important to invest in technologies that make an important contribution to a more sustainable society. We recognize this in Pelagen. With its technology, good quality materials can be made without the negative impact on the environment and animal welfare,” says Jasper Geselschap, UNIIQ Fund Manager.

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…your recruitment or product development with our curated community partners!

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