By Jerred Ziegler
When we first told you about EnviroFlight, the company in Yellow Springs, Ohio, was in the midst of upgrading its entire facilities and preparing for rapid growth. It has now been acquired by biotech leader Intrexon, who entered a joint venture with Darling Ingredients to expand the size and speed of EnviroFlight’s breeding production process. EnviroFlight breeds black soldier flies to create a food source for animals that is more sustainable than the typical crops used like corn and soybeans.
“This partnership is extremely beneficial for EnviroFlight, providing the company with additional revenue opportunities, access to capital and expertise in product development and testing,” said Glen Courtright, founder of EnviroFlight. “We’ve already gained new customers, deepened the relationships with existing customers and dramatically increased the talent pool of managers and engineers.”
Intrexon engineers have an extensive knowledge of using insects like the black soldier fly in product development, while Darling International is renowned as the foremost producer of inexpensive, sustainable feedstocks in the industry.
“Finding a more efficient way to feed animals means more livestock on farms and more food for humans,” said Courtright. “This will be vital as the global population is expected to surpass nine billion people by 2050 and 11 billion by the end of the century.”
Intrexon is committed to continue developing EnviroFlight’s efficient, low environmental impact solutions in Yellow Springs.
“The plan is to maintain headquarters in Yellow Springs, which houses management, engineering, research and development, sales and a pilot manufacturing plant,” said Courtright. “The work performed in Yellow Springs establishes the foundation to deploy this technology across the United States.”
In 2012, EnviroFlight was awarded early stage funding from the Dayton Development Coalition, which is partially funded by Ohio Third Frontier. This funding helped the company refine its production process and secure its first customers. Without that funding, Courtright says the company would not have been able to transition from a small technology startup to the viable commercial company it is today.
“We are thankful for all the support and encouragement we’ve received from our state and local governments, the local community in Yellow Springs and the different trade associations and businesses we’ve worked with throughout Ohio,” said Courtright.
Intrexon, Darling and EnviroFlight now have their sights set on FDA approval for their feed product. Additionally, they plan to build a commercial plant to reach critical production mass, allowing the partnership to meet growing customer demand.