The Isère-based start-up has developed an original process based on the Hermetia Illucens (Black Soldier Fly) fly allowing the mass production of chitosan, a high added value product used in the medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, environmental and industrial fields. .
SFly, a start-up that has developed an innovative insect-chitin bioconversion model, has just successfully validated its integrated process to extract optimally (environmental and financial footprint), the chitin constituting the exoskeleton of the fly Hermetia Illucens , and the manufacture of a certified quality chitosan.
Chitosan, already used in many products (suture, artificial skin, anti-aging cream, non-allergic and anti-bacterial textile fiber, fungicide, fertilizer, etc.), is a key resource with very promising applications. .
This first major step in the development of the start-up allows it to complete the financing of the second phase of its strategic plan: the setting up of its pilot production unit on the Inspira platform in Salaise-sur-Sanne in Isère.
A stable and controlled process
SFly has developed a controlled process ensuring traceability, repeatability and quality control throughout the manufacturing process. The project is the result of more than four years of research carried out on own funds and has benefited from private funding of € 400k and support from the Bpifrance innovation fund in the amount of € 200k. The objective is to develop a new French industrial insect production sector to manufacture, using high-performance chemical processes, medical and cosmetic grade chitin and chitosan.
Bio-resources of the future
These strategic products, whose global production does not today meet the needs of industrialists (the known demand for chitin in 2017 was more than 75,000 tonnes for 40,000 tonnes produced), are currently extracted from the shrimp shell, mainly by Asian companies. Global demand for chitosan is growing rapidly (16% per year) due to its many applications such as for example in water treatment, food and beverages, cosmetics, industry, biomedicine and products. pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals. The global chitin derivatives market is expected to reach $ 63 billion in 2021 according to a report by Global Industry Analysts Inc. (chitin and chitosan derivatives market report - 2015).
»The validation of our process represents a capital milestone in our development in addition to being a great satisfaction. All the stages have been meticulously analyzed and optimized: large-scale rearing of the Hermetia Illucens larva, control of larvae feeding, fly reproduction, chemical process for chitin extraction, production of chitosan and recovery of waste. Ensuring traceability and repeatability throughout the process, from input to finished product, is a first that sets us apart from current chitin / chitosan producers. We can thus offer molecules that were previously inaccessible. Another advantage of our chitosan is its purity which will allow us to achieve 100% of our production in pharmaceutical grade. Next steps, our financing round and the construction of our pilot production unit, ”specifies Philippe Crochard, Co-founder of SFly.