A Boston-based ag-biotech start-up has raised $26.5 million in funding to develop a vaccine to curb livestock methane emissions.

Yes, really.

There’s actually a company attempting to create a vaccine to prevent cow farts.

“ArkeaBio is an ag-biotech start-up developing a safe, user-friendly, and cost-conscious vaccine to reduce ruminant methane emissions that will work seamlessly with existing global agribusiness practices,” ArkeaBio writes on its website.

“When it comes to climate change, a simple vaccine can be a powerful tool,” the biotech company says.

Yes, there actually is a vaccine in development for fictional climate change.

There seems to be a vaccine for anything and everything.

Who’s behind the effort to vaccinate cattle to stop them from farting?

None other than Bill Gates.

“ArkeaBio, a Boston developer of a vaccine to reduce livestock methane emissions, raised a $26.5 million in venture capital funding led by an investment fund founded by Bill Gates,” Axios reports.

Per Axios:

Caring about cow farts (or burps) has become a political punchline, but they’re estimated to create more than 5% of global greenhouse gasses.

Vaccines could be a relatively low-cost, scalable solution, particularly as food demand increases.

Methane is much more potent than is carbon dioxide, in terms of its trapping atmospheric heat, although it also dissipates down faster.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the Series A round, and was joined by Grantham Foundation, AgriZeroNZ, Rabo Ventures, Overview Capital and The51 Food & AgTech Fund.

BEV previously funded ArkeaBio’s $12 million seed round.

“Arkea Bio Corp. (ArkeaBio), a pioneer in developing technology to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agricultural sector, today announced the successful close of a $12 million Seed Series financing round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV),” PRNewswire stated in December 2022.

“Founded by Bill Gates and backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, BEV has raised more than $2 billion in committed capital to support cutting-edge companies that are leading the world to net-zero emissions,” the press release noted.

Bloomberg reports:

Ag-biotech company ArkeaBio says its drug targets methane-producing microorganisms that live in animals’ saliva and digestive tracks. As of now, it’s still in early stages and will be at least 2.5 years before it could be on the market.

But if successful, the drug would be a step towards tackling one of the world’s most intractable climate challenges: curbing methane emissions from agriculture. The industry is the biggest source of human-generated methane, ahead of fossil fuels and waste, according to International Energy Agency.

“The tools to make a really good run at this haven’t existed until the cost of sequencing and the cost of biotechnology came down substantially over the last five to 10 years,” said Colin South, chief executive officer of ArkeaBio. The company is seeing “better-than-expected results” in cattle trials currently underway, he added.

To reduce animal methane emissions, researchers and startups have been experimenting with different feed additives including seaweed and biochar. Others have developed cattle masks that capture the potent greenhouse gas.

A Bloomberg investigation last year found that, while many of the world’s biggest buyers of dairy and beef have declared an interest in encouraging their suppliers to use methane-curbing feed additives, few followed through at any sort of magnitude.

A vaccine could be distributed through existing agricultural supply channels, South said, noting that beef and dairy cattle already receive a wide array of drugs to prevent respiratory diseases, bovine diarrhea and other ailments.

“Reducing methane emissions from the agricultural sector is one of the most pressing challenges in today’s fight against climate change,” said Chris Rivest, Chairman of the Board at ArkeaBio and partner at Breakthrough Energy Ventures, according to Feedstuffs.

“ArkeaBio’s approach using innovative vaccine technologies will create effective and massively scalable solutions to reduce on-farm methane emissions, leaving them well-positioned to redefine the agricultural landscape in the years to come,” he added.

From Feedstuffs:

ArkeaBio research and development results have garnered substantial attention from investors for the advancement of the inaugural methane-reducing vaccine, designed for safe and rapid implementation within existing on-farm practices. The funds raised in this Series A financing will play a pivotal role in expanding the research, development and deployment of the vaccine, including large-scale field trials and engagement along the supply chain. “We are thankful for the financial support, confidence, and trust of our investors. This funding will accelerate the development of our vaccine-based solution to meet a pressing global problem,” said Colin South, ArkeaBio CEO. “To echo the sentiments of The Grantham Foundation: ‘climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. It is the race of our lives.’ This capital raise allows us to continue to create the tools necessary for farmers to achieve globally relevant reductions in livestock methane emissions.”

ArkeaBio is dedicated to collaborative efforts with industry partners, regulatory authorities, and environmental organizations to bring this transformative solution to market.

Read more from ArkeaBio HERE.

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