20 February 2023

Investing millions in birth control for rats

image Photo: TriptoBIO

Rats cost society massive amounts of money each year, but rat poison is toxic to both nature and people. The Danish business, TriptoBIO, develops an alternative to rat poison, which is friendly to both the environment and the climate - offering the rats safe sex through birth control. An investment, where Denmark's Export and Investment Fund contributes with 4 million DKK, is going to develop the technology and scale up the business, so that rats can start having safe sex worldwide. 

The Danish business TriptoBIO has developed a biotechnological platform, which can create a molecyle called triptolide, among others. And while the name of the molecyle is not quite straight forward, it has a simple and special function. It can be used to develop environmentally friendly birth control for rats, and fight the massive pest control problem that rats constitute in many places. In fact, two rats can multiply to 15.000 rats in just a single year. 

In the future, dangerous rat poison, that kills both wild and endangered animal species, can be completely exterminated with the humane and climate friendly alternative. The rat poison used today does not live up the environmental standards set by the EU, but is used anyway, due to the lack of alternative solutions. Now, a total investment of eight million DKK, where Denmark's Export and Investment Fund and Bio Innovation Institute each contribute with four million, is going to develop and scale the business' team and biotechnological platform. 

The molecyle of miracles

Triptolide is an active ingredient in a product, which functions as a sustainable alternative to the current rodenticides that are used today in pest control. The so far harmful, inhumane and toxic solutions now have a sustainable, humane and green alternative. The molecule functions as safe and sustainable birth control for rats. 

The biotechnological platform of TriptoBIO makes it possible to scale up the production of triptolide and fight the overpopulation of rats by offering them safe sex. Currently, pest control is by either chemical solutions, e.g. rat poison, which is extremely toxic to the environment, has long degredation rates, and causes a lot of pain to the animals. The alternative to these toxic rodenticides have previously been solutions of a mechanical category, e.g. traps, that are put up in the area where the rats are usually found. 

Triptolide has previously been limited by the fact that it could only be extracted in small amounts from a rare plant, which grows in the mountains of the south of China. This has made the production of triptolide impossible to scale and a very expensive ingredient in the birth control aimed at rats. TriptoBIO's solution is easy to scale and can make the extraction of triptolide up to one hundred times cheaper. 

The business' solution also includes the fact that there is no need for conventional farming land to grow plants. This is a decisive factor in ensuring a more climate friendly pest control. 

The least sexy case about sex

Co-founder and CTO of TriptoBIO, Johan Andersen-Ranberg, is an experienced scientist and has previously claimed the title of winner of the Danish PhD-cup. He takes pride in communicating research to make it understandable and available: 

"Pest control is not a seductory topic, but it is without a doubt one of the most universal issues, which can be found in anywhere from refugee camps around the world to the spa clinics of Hellerup. We find daily purpose in finding solutions to this issue despite the fact that it to many is an invisible one," he says. 

Johan calls the solution the least sexy case about sex. 

Co-founder of TriptoBIO, Jon Christensen, has experience driving businesses forward internationally, and he has no doubt regarding the potential of TriptoBIO:

"Currently, toxic rodenticides are used by the ton worldwide, and we want to be part of the solution. The investment from Denmark's Export and Investment Fund has now given us the opportunity to hire the best talent within our field, and not just strengthen the team of TriptoBIO with international resources, but Danish biotechnology in general," he explains.

Already now, rats in the United States are having safe sex thanks so triptolide, and TriptoBIO's upscaling of production is going to ensure safe rat sex all over the world. Jon underlines that the production method developed by TriptoBIO will make other substances available in the future through climate friendly production methods, in addition to triptolide: 

"There will be many winners in the transition towards greener solutions, and we want to be one of them," he adds. 

"In Denmark's Export and Investment Fund, we believe that green transitions go hand-in-hand with good business. With the investment in TriptoBIO, we gather strong skills in a business which has the potential to scale internationally, and influence the global, green transition. We have strong faith in the international team of talent gathered on Danish soil, and look forward to following TriptoBIO's further growth and positive influence, as the result of their biotechnological platform to produce triptolide, among other substances," says Anne Sophie Vinther Hansen, Investment Manager in Denmark's Export and Investment Fund.