Founded in 2018, the company Mycea has recently been awarded the i-Lab 2020 Grand Prix for its BE-SAFE project (Biocontrol and Environmental Solutions for Agriculture based on Fungal Extracts).
The start-up located in Montpellier was created by Dominique Barry-Etienne, PhD in agronomy, and Sébastien Diette, specialist in fungi biology and ecology, identifying and producing fungi natural extracts as an alternative to chemical pesticides. “Mushrooms are well-known in the medical world, with penicillin, but their sourcing to avoid the use of chemical inputs in agriculture has been used very little so far.”
After focusing on truffles during her studies, she diversified her research topic to agricultural pathogenic fungi. It is one of the last themes of this program which was recognized as having a particularly interesting potential by the jury of the competition, led by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
The project had already been presented last year but had not met with the same success “due to its lack of maturity”. They therefore worked with investors this year. “We hired a specialist to work on co-development partnerships with manufacturers,” explains the expert.
This reward will help increase the visibility of the start-up. “This validation of our research program by the i-Lab jury is very important for the investors who accompany us. The funds provided by the competition will allow us to work on the mass production of molecules to be marketed in the future.”