Food tech company Moolec Science began trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday after its merger with LightJump Acquisition Corporation, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, completed at the end of 2022.
Moolec uses genetically modified plants to produce proteins that are found in animals, a process it calls molecular farming. The deal, which shareholders of LightJump Acquisition Corp. approved on Dec. 27, values Moolec at $504 million. The company’s trading symbol is MLEC.
The deal makes Moolec the first molecular farming food-tech company trading in public markets.
“This is a step closer towards building a more resilient and sustainable food system, using science in food to set up a better future,” Moolec CEO, Director and co-founder Gastón Paladini said in a written statement.
Moolec was spun off of Argentina’s Bioceres Crop Solutions in 2020 to commercialize the technology of using bioengineered plants to produce animal proteins. Its products have not hit the market yet, but Moolec anticipates being a leader in this growing space.
The company is positioning itself as a B2B provider of ingredients to replace proteins derived from animals and to improve alternative protein products. According to an investor presentation last month, Moolec sees a total addressable market of $65 billion. The company says it has more than 20 patents throughout the world and sees itself as playing a key role in helping create nutritious food more sustainably and inexpensively.
Moolec has created two products so far: chymosin, which is a protein used in cheesemaking that it produced with safflower; and the nutritional oil gamma-linoleic acid. According to a timeline in the investor presentation, the company will target commercial release of these in 2025.
The company also is working on two meat protein products: POORK+ and BEEF+. POORK+ adds pork protein to soy plants and BEEF+ adds beef protein to pea plants. The company says these can be used as enhancements to meat analogs, and is targeting commercial launches in the next five years, according to the presentation.
Moolec’s SPAC merger was first announced in June.