Scottish firm gets funding to produce fish waste bioplastic at pilot production scale

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CuanTec, which is working with high-end retailer Waitrose to develop an alternative to conventional plastic film on its Duchy smoked salmon range – announced investment from Sky Ocean Ventures and Scottish Enterprise.

In a press release, the blue biotech company CuanTec, based in Motherwell and Oban, Scotland have completed an investment round with Sky Ocean Ventures and Scottish Enterprise that will enable them to process at pilot production scale and finalise their formulations.

The investment round has been led by Sky Ocean Ventures – Sky’s impact investment fund committed to accelerating ideas that can help turn off the plastics tap and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency.

CuanTec’s process uses biology instead of chemistry to extract the naturally occurring biopolymer, chitin from fish processing waste which is then deacetylated it to obtain chitosan.

CuanTec CEO Cait Murray-Green said: “The world has awakened to the problems that we have created with single-use plastic. CuanTec are working to provide compostable alternatives which will eliminate single-use plastic from the food industry. We are delighted by the support of Sky Ocean Ventures and Scottish Enterprise in enabling this early-stage technology to move forward and to help create scientific jobs in rural Argyll and in Motherwell. Increasingly the investment community has also taken up the challenge and SOV has proven to be a valuable partner who believes strongly in our team and in what we are trying to achieve – to make plastic pollution history.”

Sky Ocean Ventures Head of Investment Jamie Rowles said: “We are excited to support the next phase of CuanTec’s development, alongside Scottish Enterprise, on the company’s journey to imbed their formulations into the packaging of fresh produce. We have developed a strong relationship with the team over the last 6 months, and their strong passion and desire to develop sustainable solutions to single-use packaging is unmatched.

Scottish Investment Bank Director Kerry Sharp added: “This deal represents an exciting progression in the growth of Cuantec and will enable the company to scale up production. We are delighted to support the company, alongside Sky Ocean Ventures, as it continues to innovate and develop products with the potential of addressing the problems of plastic pollution and food waste. The company has been supported by Scottish Enterprise’s SMART: SCOTLAND innovation support and Financial Readiness support and we look forward to working further with the business, through Scottish Enterprise’s many support mechanisms, as it continues to develop and grow”.