Biotech startup RWDC closes $13 million Series A2 to accelerate the development of PHA biodegradable biopolymers as alternative to plastics
RWDC Industries Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based biotech startup, closed a $13 million Series A2 funding to expand RWDC’s PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) production capacity in Athens, Georgia (USA), to 2,000 tonnes per year, making the company among the world’s largest PHA producers by early 2019.
The latest round co-led by venture capital firms Vickers Venture Partners and WI Harper Group with participation from Ridgevale Enterprises and individual investors. Related to the funding, RWDC also announced that Vickers Chairman and co-founding partner Dr. Finian Tan, along with WI Harper Chairman Mr. Peter Liu, have joined RWDC’s board of directors.
Founded in 2015 by Mr. Roland Wee and Dr. Daniel Carraway, RWDC Industries develops innovative and cost-effective biopolymer material solutions. The company also produces medium-chain-length polyhydroxyalkanoate (mcl-PHA) biopolymers that are designed for use across a broad range of applications.
RWDC’s PHA is certified to be fully biodegradable in soil, water and marine conditions (i.e. all potential end-of-life scenarios) by certification agency TUV Austria (formerly Vincotte). It fully biodegrades within weeks with no toxic residue. RWDC’s customers will be able to label their products as 100% bio-based, non-toxic and truly biodegradable. PHAs are naturally produced by bacterial fermentation of plant-based oils or sugar, and are widely recognized as the world’s only commercially viable biodegradable bioplastic due to its versatility1.
“I am heartened by the trust that WI Harper, Vickers Venture Partners, Ridgevale Enterprises Limited and all our other investors have shown in us. We are a highly capable, passionate, and experienced team of scientists, engineers, financiers and marketers. This team is determined and confident in realising our vision of helping make this planet a greener place for future generations,” RWDC Executive Chairman Mr. Roland Wee said.
“Over the last few months, we have received strong support from our investors, as well as tremendous interest from potential customers, including major packaging manufacturers and F&B brand owners”, Mr. Wee said. “We are extremely excited and focused on the expansion of our PHA facility in the US, as this marks our first step towards producing PHA at commercially affordable prices for the global market. We have concrete plans to scale up very quickly from here.”
“This facility will be a training ground for our staff, provide material for customer trials, and serve as a demonstration of our capabilities. At the same time, we have ambitious plans for the future. We look forward to providing the world with a truly biodegradable, 100% renewable, and highly versatile material,” RWDC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Daniel Carraway said. “PHA will be a major component in sustainable packaging materials of the future, and RWDC offers a comprehensive technical and material resource for brand owners and converters in the food service, food packaging, and consumer goods packaging industries.
Dr. Finian Tan said: “Every year, the world produces several hundred metric tonnes of plastic, mostly destined for single-use products that persist in the environment after disposal and creates a huge plastic pollution problem that the world is increasingly acutely aware of.”
“While it is unrealistic to curb the massive demand for plastic – especially in emerging markets where consumption is on a constant rise – we can still power innovators such as RWDC to develop a commercially attractive solution to a long-standing socio-ecological problem.”
PHAs are linear polyesters naturally produced by bacterial fermentation of plant-based oils or sugar and are widely recognized as the only commercially viable biodegradable bioplastic. RWDC’s PHA is certified to be fully biodegradable in soil, water and marine conditions (i.e. all potential end-of-life scenarios) by TUV Austria (formerly Vincotte), fully biodegrading within weeks with no toxic residue. RWDC supports sustainable practices and encourages responsible choice in plastic waste management including recycling so as to best protect our environment.