Eden Brew, an Australian start-up developing animal-free dairy proteins and products, has secured new investment.

Nordic food heavyweight Orkla took part in the A$24.4m ($15.3m) Series A financing round, with a A$6m contribution from Breakthrough Victoria, an independent company that manages the state’s investment funds.

Eden Brew was set up in 2021 by Australian dairy group Norco, along with CSIRO and Main Sequence Ventures, the fund set up to run the government agency’s innovation fund.

Breakthrough Victoria said the investment “will allow Eden Brew to seek regulatory and patent approvals”.

It added: “The company will also begin piloting commercial scale animal-free milk production and launch its ice cream in the foodservice industry. As part of the investment, Eden Brew will establish its head office in Melbourne and further develop its research and manufacturing in Victoria.”

Eden Brew CEO Jim Fader is one of the company’s co-founders, which also include Main Sequence partner Phil Morle and Norco CEO Michael Hampson.

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Fader said: “Eden Brew is focussed on creating an animal-free dairy category, which stands to play a significant role in how we sustainably meet the growing demand for food on the planet.

“We’re incredibly proud to continue to build our team in Melbourne and the investment we have received from Breakthrough Victoria is critical to enabling Eden Brew to commercialise.”

Also taking part in the Series A funding round were Digitalis Ventures, Possible Ventures and Radar Ventures. The latest investment builds on A$6.9m secured last year and another A$4m in 2021.

“Using science know-how developed at CSIRO, Eden Brew uses a precision fermentation process to produce casein proteins and combine them into the casein micelle, the organised protein cluster which gives cow’s milk its bioavailable nutritional carrying capacity, heat stability and many of its sensory qualities,” according to the Breakthrough Victoria statement.

“Eden Brew will scale fermentation-based manufacturing and then utilise existing milk and dairy production techniques and infrastructure to help increase the supply of nutritious food, sustainably.”

Multinationals are making investments in the nascent animal-free dairy sector. In August, Fonterra invested in the seed funding round of Vivici, a Dutch start-up developing animal-free dairy proteins through precision fermentation.

In April, Danone bought a stake in Israel-based animal-free dairy business Imagindairy.

August also saw US animal-free dairy business Perfect Day, which has raised more than $750m since starting up in 2014, sell its consumer-facing assets to focus on supplying its animal-free whey protein to B2B partners.