Polybion reported that its bacterial cellulose facility is scaling up production after the successful closing of a $4.4 million (€4 million) Series A financing round led by Blue Horizon.

At maximum capacity, Polybion’s solar-powered, industrial-scale bacterial cellulose manufacturing facility will produce 1.1 million ft2 per year of the company’s proprietary biotextile Celium®, according to company officials who say the firm is using the new funds to expand the company’s carbon-neutral bio-manufacturing facility, increase research and development efforts, and deploy Celium into consumer goods.

“Scaling the production of Celium, a sustainable alternative to animal-based textiles and petroleum-derived synthetics, is a huge step on Polybion’s mission to bring performance and possibility to 21st-century designers and materials engineers,” said Axel Gómez-Ortigoza, co-founder and CEO, Polybion, which has facilities in  Irapuato, México, and Madrid, Spain.

“We are happy to partner with Polybion,” added Tanmay Annachhatre, principal, Blue Horizon principal, “and join this great team on their journey to create new and fully sustainable materials. Consumers, brands, and manufacturers are all seeking novel, sustainable materials. Few other companies have moved as quickly as

Polybion was founded in 2015 by Mexican brothers Axel and Alexis Gómez-Ortigoza, and Bárbara González Rolón. Together, they developed the tools and technology to grow high-performance bio-assembled materials by upcycling agro-industrial food waste and harnessing living organisms such as bacteria, notes a company press statement.

Leveraging waste as raw material and designing, producing, and finishing products under the same roof are key to Polybion’s long-term strategy.

Celium is the first in a series of new biomaterials Polybion plans to create. Produced from cellulose,  Celium is an animal-free leather substitute intended for use fashion, sportswear, and automotive applications. Polybion expects to reach the maximum production capacity of Celium per year by the third quarter of 2023.

“With our expanded manufacturing capabilities, we are enhancing our ability to work with some of the world’s most iconic global consumer brands while reducing carbon emissions and displacing the animal-derived leather value chain,” added Alexis Gómez-Ortigoza, Polybion co-founder and chief financial officer. “Our goal is to enhance these brands’ ability to accelerate the development of bioassembled products, increase sustainability, and accelerate the path toward the circular economy.”