Estonian biotech Gearbox Biosciences secures €380k in a pre-seed round by Specialist VC

Tartu-based biotech startup Gearbox Biosciences has secured €380,000 in a fresh pre-seed funding round led by Specialist VC and UniTartu Ventures. Including recent grants, the company’s total funding amounts to over €500,000.

  • Founded by a team of researchers Arvi Joers, Marje Kasari, and Villu Kasari, Gearbox Biosciences is on a mission to develop a novel technology that enables the production of proteins using industrial biotechnology, without antibiotics. The company thus helps reduce the use of antibiotics outside medicine and alleviate the risk of the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • The company’s technology can be used to make, for example, diabetes medication insulin. Traditionally, antibiotics are needed in large amounts for this process. But the new method allows production without them, making it more efficient and future-proof.

“We believe that Gearbox Biosciences is one of the most capable early-stage companies in the field of deep technology in Estonia. What made them stand out was the strong team of founders, long-term research background and the steps taken towards the commercialisation of the technology. The company has submitted patent applications and issued a license for its technology to their first customer,”

Riivo Anton, Co-founder and Fund Manager of Specialist VC, says.
  • The group of investors led by Specialist VC and UniTartu Ventures have commited €380,000 to support the cause.
    • Specialist VC is a €50M VC fund based Tallinn, Estonia. The firm focuses on investments into promising tech startups from pre-seed to A-rounds, within such industries like B2B, SaaS, fintech, and marketplaces.
    • UniTartu Ventures is an Estonian fund that teams up with the early-stage deep tech investors to support the University of Tartu’s connected researchers, startups, and spin-off’s growth.
  • Other investors in this round are AS AMALFIJohanna Britt BerzinSiim SikkutIvo RemmelgRobert Laud, and Hugues Flament.

This is not the first capital raised by Gearbox Biosciences. In March 2023, during Estonian sTARTUp Pitching 2023 competition, the startup received the second place and an investment of €125,000 from Baltic Sandbox Ventures. Together with the fresh investment, Gearbox’s total funding amounts to over €500,000.

  • With the fresh capital, Gearbox Biosciences plans to develop the technology further so that customers can use it in small-scale production. Also, they have a plan to create a stable customer base.