Louvain-la-Neuve, 26th June 2017 - Aphea.Bio, spin-off of the VIB, UGent and KU Leuven, will develop sustainable agricultural products based on nature-based microorganisms to increase crop yield and protect plants against specific fungal diseases.

In total, Aphea.Bio has raised 7.7 million euros in capital and 1.3 million euros non-dilutive capital. The series A financing round was led by V-Bio Ventures and was joined by a broad syndicate of investors including PMV, Agri Investment Fund, VIVES LOUVAIN TECHNOLOGY FUND, Qbic II, Gemma Frisius Fund KU Leuven, Group De Ceuster and VIB itself.

Thanks to a successful Series A financing, Aphea.Bio aims at a leading position in the fast-emerging market of biopesticides and biostimulants. Aphea.Bio will be led by CEO Dr. Isabel Vercauteren and CSO Dr. Steven Vandenabeele.

Dr. Willem Broekaert - Managing Partner V-Bio Ventures - : “We are highly pleased to have built a strong investor consortium that provides the necessary financial backing for this innovative start-up company. This group of investors also brings along a unique Belgian network and we anticipate through their relationships with scientific institutions and key players in the agricultural sector to further strenghten its position.”

« Our holding in Aphea enables us to invest in sustainable agricultural, a sector which is on the brink of a biological revolution concerning the treatment of infections and to improve yield. We are convinced of the growth potential of the company, the scientific expertise of its founders and the industry's demand for innovative new products. This investment also contributes to strengthen our cooperation with European universities, thanks to a cross-fertilization in terms of creating spin-offs and research collaborations » indique Philippe Durieux, CEO de VIVES II – Louvain Technology Fund.

Prof. Stéphane Declerck, UCLouvain ELI – Earth and Life Institute: “The innovative technology of Aphea.Bio provides an enormous asset to quickly identify micro-organisms impacting the yield of crops. I look forward to a future cooperation and joining of expertise with the team of Aphea.Bio”

About Aphea.Bio

More info: www.aphea.bio 

About VIVES-Louvain Technology Fund

The VIVES Louvain Technology Fund is a multi-sector technology fund which invests in the spin-offs of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) and start-ups in Belgium and neighboring countries. VIVES II is funded by a dozen leading Belgian and European investors such as the European Investment Fund (EIF), SFPI-FPIM, BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity Belgium, BPI France (France), ING Belgium, SOFINA, AXA Belgium, BELFIUS, IRD (France), NivelInvest, Region Bruxelles Capital and by Sopartec, member of the LTTO. The objective of the fund is to invest in the development of start-ups, from validation of the technology to commercial maturity. The funds (VIVES I - €15 million and VIVES II - €43 million) are managed by Sopartec, UCLouvain’s technology transfer company. Key investee companies: Keemotion, Iteos Therapeutics, Promethera Biosciences, Novadip Biosciences, Smartnodes, Getsmily, Tessares, 3D-Side, Axinesis, G2C, etc.

More information: www.vivesfund.com 

About Laboratory of mycology UCLouvain ELI – Earth and Life Institute

The laboratory of mycology combines basic research with applied research, based on an exceptional heritage of 30 000 living strains representing more than 1200 genera and 4000 species, preserved within the BCCM/MUCL collection. Two pillars structure the research activities: agri-food mycology, which studies the role of fungi in food production processes; and agri-environmental mycology, which concentrates on four major thematics: (1) taxonomy, phylogeny and biodiversity of fungi in natural as well as anthropized environments; (2) studies of trophic chains and host-pathogen or symbiont-host relationships at physiological and molecular levels; (3) use of fungi in bio-stimulation of plants, bio-protection towards biotic and abiotic stresses as well as bio-remediation of contaminated soil; (4) production of fungal bio-effectors and their formulation via the technology of micro and nano-encapsulation. The laboratory is based on about 30 scientists, technicians and administrative members and has a strong anchorage in EU programs with about 10 projects over the last five years.

More information: Stephan.declerck@uclouvain.be