BASF Venture Capital GmbH, Ludwigshafen, is investing in the biotechnology group Cavis Microcaps GmbH, Mainz, Germany. Cavis markets a proprietary technology to encapsulate ingredients for the food and animal feed industries.
Cavis has raised €5 million in its Series A financing, of which BASF Venture Capital is providing €2 million. Inventages Venture Capital Investment Inc., which specializes in the field of life science, has invested €3 million in Cavis.
Cavis has developed a technology and production process that uses small capsules to protect sensitive substances - for example yeasts, probiotics (health-promoting bacteria), vitamins or enzymes - from degradation. Cavis can also add a multi-layer casing over the capsule, which acts as a membrane in order to facilitate the entry of selective substrates into the capsule.
An example where Cavis’ technology can be used is in the production of sparkling wine. In the traditional process, yeast and sugar are initially added to the fermented basic wine. The yeast is then removed by riddling once the sugar has been converted into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
In its novel process, Cavis encapsulates the yeast, thus preventing its unwanted dissolution into the wine. This method reduces production costs because the yeast capsules are easier to separate from the wine than pure yeast.
Cavis offers tailor-made encapsulation solutions and has set up partnerships with customers in various industries. The markets for Cavis technology are expected to achieve significant growth in the next decade.
“Cavis has a strong technology base in a market with growth potential. The increase in production capacity made possible by our capital investment will allow Cavis to serve a broader range of customers,” said Lysander Chrisstoffels, investment manager at BASF Venture Capital.
“After analyzing encapsulation technologies around the world, we are convinced that Cavis offers the most advanced technology in this field, with a broad application potential,” said Robert Schier, Partner at Invetages Venture Capital Investment.
BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF Future Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and participates in startup companies by providing venture capital to open up new growth potentials. In doing so, it focuses on companies with innovative business models and technologies in which chemistry is an important key to success. Investment is channeled toward companies that can demonstrate successful applications for their product developments as well as market demand. BASF also supports these companies with its expertise.