Campus residents: Sophie’s Bionutrients

'The Wageningen campus is a hub for the protein transition'

Sophie’s Bionutrients only moved onto the campus recently, but has been around for four years. Founder Eugene Wang from Taiwan started the company in Singapore but will move to Wageningen later this year. The eight-strong company’s headquarters will be here because the Netherlands is a more suitable location for expanding the company. Sophie’s Bionutrients extracts proteins from algae as a food ingredient for plant-based milk and meat substitutes.

WUR alumnus Ewoud de Voogd, who joined the company last year, is busy finding office space. For the time being, he has arranged for a few hot desks at Startlife in Plus Ultra II where the staff of Sophie’s Bionutrients — four of whom are still in Singapore — can work.

Sophie’s breeds algae in large fermentation vats, extracts the proteins from the algae and processes them into food ingredients. Marieke Vanthoor-Koopmans, whose doctorate was supervised by René Wijffels, Wageningen’s ‘algae professor’, recently became the company’s chief technology officer. The main challenge is how the company can produce large quantities of protein at low cost. Sophie’s has already extracted 50 kilos of protein from algae several times at a test location, and now wants to build a large-scale factory. That will cost 20 million euros. The company is looking for investors. What’s great about the campus? ‘There are lots of researchers and entrepreneurs who are working on the same issues as we are, and you meet them all here. This is a hub for the protein transition’.

The Wageningen campus is a hub for the protein transition

There are about a hundred companies on the campus. We introduce them to you in Resource. This time, Sophie’s Bionutrients in Plus Ultra II.

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