Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECBS (Equinom computational breeding system)
Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2019-08-31
Europe is making a dietary shift towards an increased consumption of plant proteins, but the European protein crop production is not enough to cover the growing demand. Moreover, plant protein options are very limited nowadays, with low nutritional quality and poor functional and organoleptic features, meaning that food companies struggle to bring to market tasty appealing plant-based products. The lack of protein crops' diversity – 90% is soy- and the difficulties, time and cost to develop new crops is ballasting the plant-based protein market, which has a huge potential. With its new, advanced computational technology, ECBS, Equinom will breed customized non-GMO crops reducing the time and costs involved in the breeding cycle. This will allow Equinom to develop, accurately and quickly, crops with a higher protein content as well as with the desired technical and functional traits to meet food industry needs.
Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
During Phase 1 we have developed a detailed technical plan to increase the accuracy of our algorithm, improve our simulation platform and expand our genetic database for three selected protein-enriched varieties. We have carried out a thorough market analysis that included meetings with several grain handlers and that revealed that the protein-rich varieties with the higher technical and economic potential are pea, soybean and chickpea. We have re-defined our business model and set up a commercialization strategy, starting by the commercialization of our varieties of chickpea and soybean to European and American companies by 2022 and the introduction of our fava bean variety by 2023; steadily increase the number of deals for protein isolate and wholegrain from these varieties in 2024 and 2025 while we already get royalties from for our pea variety. We have confirmed freedom to operate and updated our dissemination plan.
Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
ECBS increases breeding accuracy tenfold and can reduce time to market by 80% and breeding cost by up to 50% compared to other non-GMO breeding technologies. It is able to grow crops with 50% more protein, better functional properties (e.g. up to 75% more solubility) and higher nutritional values than commercial varieties. We can develop tuned crops, enabling manufacturers to create attractive products to fulfill specific market demands. Equinom expects to have €75 million revenues from seed sales and grain and protein isolate royalties by 2024 and €260 million by 2028.