PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After more than four years of scientific research, development, and testing, today, Neoplants unveiled Neo P1: a single bioengineered plant shown to clean ambient in-home air pollution more effectively than up to thirty standard houseplants. A breakthrough in plant bioengineering and directed evolution, Neo P1 represents the first critical step in the company’s mission to unlock abilities within living organisms to fight back against man-made environmental damage.
“For too long, the advance of technology has been at the expense of our environment,” said Lionel Mora, Neoplants CEO and co-founder. “Our team views nature as the world’s most powerful technology. It is critical that we use human talent for innovation to partner with, and enhance, our natural world rather than consuming it.”
“But we did not want to create an R&D lab with the promise of discoveries far in the future - we are a product company. That means we're pragmatic and action-oriented, and while our mission is global in scale, we chose to start with indoor air pollution as a first use case and a way for everyone to join us today.”
“Neo P1 is not only the first bioengineered plant designed to be a powerful, natural air purifier, but it is also a way for everyone to join our mission.” added Mora.
The Science of Clean Air
The first bioengineered generation of the popular Pothos houseplant, Neo P1, is designed by the Neoplants team at the genetic level to efficiently capture and recycle the most dangerous air pollutants commonly found in the home: formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene. These Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are constantly released into indoor ambient air from ubiquitous building materials such as furniture, household cleaning products, paint, varnishes, adhesives, upholstery, and flooring.
According to data from the World Health Organization, poor air quality from VOCs is responsible for roughly 11 percent of lung cancer deaths, 23 percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) deaths, and 12 percent of ischaemic heart disease and stroke. Worse, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that the levels of indoor air pollutants are often up to five times higher than outdoor levels; in some cases, more than 100 times higher.
To combat indoor VOCs, the Neoplants research team, led by CTO and co-founder Patrick Torbey, Ph.D., developed dozens of prototype plants over the past 4 years to refine the capabilities of Neo P1.
The plant itself was enhanced by engineering its molecular metabolism, allowing it to convert VOCs into plant matter. Significant research and development also went into enhancing Neo P1 microbiome, through directed evolution, in order to more efficiently metabolize these VOCs. Initial testing was conducted in partnership with Ecole Mines-Télécom of Lille University in France using the most advanced and scientifically robust phytoremediation measurement experiments available. This testing showed that Neo P1 is up to thirty times more effective at removing VOCs from the air than the most efficient plants found in nature.
“Put simply, nature cannot evolve fast enough to keep up with the damage done to the environment by machines; we need to put nature back at the heart of technological development,” said Torbey, “We see bioengineering as a way of empowering nature to evolve alongside human technology. The more we uncover the code of the living organisms around us, the more we are amazed at its elegance and complexity, crafted by billions of years of evolution. Our team is committed to building a green and vibrant future here on earth, where plants are upgraded as frequently as our phones, where people can see and feel the benefits of nature as clearly as any piece of technology.”
Growing Beyond P1 and Indoor Air
Neoplants has raised more than $20 million in funding from leading technology investors, including True Ventures, Heartcore, Collaborative Fund and Entrepreneur First. This early funding played a critical role in the research and development of Neo P1, including the construction of a new 12,000-square-foot laboratory, a cutting-edge facility explicitly created for engineering the future of plants.
As Neoplants moves beyond Neo P1, the company will be regularly introducing new generations of its product line to market and continue advancing biological solutions towards fighting climate change, expanding its focus beyond indoor air.,
“When investing in startups tackling significant scientific research, it usually takes a decade for their impact to take shape – but that’s not the case with this team at Neoplants,” said Phil Black, co-founder of True Ventures. “Consumers get the immediate benefit of purified air to the betterment of our environment. It’s remarkable how this world-class team of scientists and engineers is already developing solutions that raise hopes to tackle climate change with biology”
“At Heartcore, we are all about investing at the intersection of technology and human aspiration. Neoplants is a perfect illustration of our thesis” says Yacine Ghalim, Partner at Heartcore Capital. “We believe that some of the biggest companies of the next few decades will be built around the idea of using technology to enhance nature. Neoplants is a pioneer in this emerging field, and is well positioned to become the global leader in this space.”
The Neo P1, including the VOC-recycling microbiome and self-watering Shell stand, will retail for $179. Customers interested in purchasing a Neo P1 can sign up at www.neoplants.com and secure their position to pre-order beginning in the first quarter of 2023.
Neoplants uses bioengineering and directed evolution to create “Plants with a Purpose,” beginning with the first plant built to fight air pollution: Neo P1. The world’s most efficient natural air purification system, the Neo P1, is more effective than up to thirty of the most popular houseplants in capturing and recycling harmful VOCs from indoor air.
The company was founded by CEO Lionel Mora and CTO Patrick Torbey in 2018. Born out of the largest global startup incubator, Station F, and including eleven PhDs, the company is headquartered in Paris, France, with partner growing facilities in the United States. Neoplants is backed by leading investors and advisors, including True Ventures, Heartcore, Collaborative Fund and Entrepreneur First. The team includes world-class bioengineers from various backgrounds to put nature at the heart of innovation.