Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Ironic Biotech

Tackling anaemia with plant-based, iron-rich proteins

Health & Wellbeing

This startup uses fermentation to produce a dietary supplement with a high bioavailability of iron

Spotted: It’s estimated that almost 2 billion people worldwide are living with iron deficiency anaemia – it is the third-leading cause of years with lived disability in the world. The majority of sufferers are women, children, and the elderly. While iron supplements are the most common treatment, they can cause side effects or have low levels of absorption, which means that many people never complete their treatment.

Ironic Biotech is working on a solution. The startup has developed plant-based compounds with high iron bioavailability similar to meat (a natural source of iron). The supplements are produced using precision fermentation, making them more effective than supplements that are made from inorganic, elemental iron, which is not as readily absorbed.

Dr. Nélida Leiva Eriksson, founder and CEO of Ironic, told Springwise how the company was born out of her personal experience with iron deficiency, explaining that, “Ironic was born from my personal experience. I suffer from IDA and there is no efficient and safe treatment to treat this condition. This is a predominantly female problem and I think it’s the reason it hasn’t been adequately resolved, so I decided to do it; for me, for my daughters, and for all women.”

While red meat, greens, and whole foods are some of the best sources of bioavailable iron, many people do not want to eat meat, or cannot afford it, or do not have access to a whole-food diet. For those people, Ironic’s supplement offers an environmentally responsible, plant-based alternative.

Ironic recently closed a €1 million pre-Seed funding round led by Nordic Foodtech VC. The company is currently trialling new production systems and starting collaborations with partners who wish to improve the nutritional quality of their products. After that, Dr. Eriksson told us the company will launch a Seed funding round to scale-up production and prepare for commercialisation.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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