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Tuesday, 22 May 2018, 14:19 HKT/SGT

Source: Mitsubishi Corporation
INCJ and Mitsubishi Corporation to Invest in Microalgae Protein Maker Tavelmout
Venture aimed at meeting rising demand for protein through mass marketing of spirulina

- Spirulina is "Food for a New Era," a protein-rich algae containing over 60 types of nutrients
- Tavelmout will use procured funds towards the construction of a new factory in Brunei Darussalam
- The investment contributes to the diversification of sustainable protein sources to meet growing food demands

TOKYO, May 22, 2018 - (JCN Newswire) - Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) are pleased to announce their joint investment in Tavelmout Corporation (Tavelmout) through the acceptance of a third-party allocation of shares by Tavelmout. The total investment amounts to 1.7 billion yen, evenly split between INCJ and MC.

Tavelmout is a bio-venture company established by the Chitose Group in 2014. After this capital increase, INCJ and MC will join Tavelmout as new shareholders, each with 31.43% ownership of the company. Tavelmout plans to utilize the funds raised towards the construction of a new production site in Brunei.

Algae can grow by photosynthesis alone, and due to its high productivity per unit area, is attracting attention as a vital protein source. Spirulina, with a particularly high protein content (over 65% on a dry weight basis) and nutritional value, and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibers, figures highly among those dubbed as the "big superfoods."

As the global population grows and dietary habits change in accordance with economic development in emerging countries, worldwide protein demand is expected to increase substantially in the future. There are forecasts of growing food demand exceeding supply, with imbalances occurring as early as 2030.

Through their participation in Tavelmout, a company aiming for mass production and global popularization of Spirulina, MC and INCJ aim to contribute to the diversification of sustainable protein sources.

Spirulina is one of the oldest life forms on Earth originating about 3.5 billion years ago. It has been used as a valuable nutritious source since Maya civilization and has a long history of human consumption. Spirulina is incredibly nutritious containing more than 60 kinds of nutrients. It is characterized by its high protein content among microalgal species, which makes up 65% of its dry weight. Spirulina is typically used as health foods in the form of dry powder or tablet, and is widely known as "the king of superfoods" overseas.

In addition to technologies of strain development and mass cultivation accumulated by the Chitose Group for organisms including microbes, microalgal cells, and animal cells, Tavelmout Corp. has developed a technology to process spirulina biomass, and has succeeded in developing a "Raw Spirulina" product hat makes full use of the characteristics of Spirulina - highly rich in protein and nutrients. As for cultivation, in addition to the open-pond system commonly used for cultivation of microalgae, a novel, economically feasible, and scalable closed flat panel photobioreactor (PBR, an apparatus to cultivate photosynthetic organisms including microalgae) system has been developed. Protein productivity using the present PBR system is about 20 times higher than that of soybeans(1).

(1) Soybeans are said to be the crop of highest protein productivity in present-day agricultural production systems.

About Tavelmout Corp.

Tavelmout Corp. is one business entity of a group of biotech companies, the "Chitose Group". Tasteless and odorless raw Spirulina are produced and commercialized using the efficient cultivation technologies developed by Chitose Laboratory Corp., which is the research entity of Chitose Group. In addition, in order to use Spirulina as a protein source in various food products, original technologies have been developed and applied for product development, commercialization, and marketing.

About Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ)

INCJ was established in July 2009 as a public-private investment company that provides financial, technological and management support for next-generation businesses. INCJ specifically supports those projects that combine technologies and varied expertise across industries and materialize open innovation. INCJ has the capacity to invest up to JPY2 trillion (approx. US$20 billion).

INCJ's management team is drawn from the private sector with diverse experience in investment, technologies and management. Through its Innovation Network Committee, INCJ assesses investment opportunities that contribute to industrial innovation in Japan in line with criteria set by the government.

About Mitsubishi Corporation

MC is a global integrated business enterprise that develops and operates business across virtually every industry including industrial finance, energy, metals, machinery, chemicals, foods, and environmental business.

MC has been providing a stable supply, mainly to Japan, of LNG produced in Brunei since 1972.

About Chitose Group

Chitose Group is a group of biotech companies devoted to leave next generations a sustainable environment where human can live abundantly up to thousands of years ahead. Our "biotechnologies to understand and manage living organisms for eliciting their maximum potentials" together with our "expertise in applying the accumulated biotechnologies for commercialization" create new values in the fields of agriculture, medical care, food, chemistry, energy and so on.

Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ)
Communications, Corporate Planning
Telephone: +81-3-5218-7202: +81-3-5218-7202

Mitsubishi Corporation
Corporate Communications Dept.
Telephone: +81-3-3210-2171: +81-3-3210-2171
Facsimile: +81-3-5252-7705: +81-3-5252-7705

Tavelmout Corp.. / Chitose Group
Group Communication Div.
Telephone: 044-813-3380
Mail: [email protected]

Topic: Press release summary
Sectors: Food & Beverage, Engineering
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