Roquette, the French multinational food ingredient manufacturer, is working with an Israeli plant breeding business to help develop new high protein pea varieties. The partnership with Equinom based in Israel’s Givat Brenner, is facilitated by a $4 million investment through joint shareholder Fortissimo Capital.

Equinom, established in 2012, uses computational breeding techniques to develop a portfolio of non-GM legumes with 50% more protein than conventional types. The company says the latest funding will help it breed new pea varieties for global human and animal nutrition markets, as well as meeting future demand as consumers shift to a more plant-based diet.

“The partnership with Roquette is an important achievement for Equinom, enabling it to leapfrog its high-protein pea program and commercialize its varieties with the leading global player in the market,” comments Fortissimo partner Yoav Hineman. “Using its proprietary software-based breeding system, Equinom continues to revolutionize significant global crops by introducing key traits in record time. Since inception, Equinom has introduced varieties in sesame that can be harvested mechanically; protein rich legumes; high-yield quinoa; and it is currently targeting additional crops. The investment is part of our strategic effort to identify and invest in market leading food-tech and ag-tech companies around the world.”

Equinom is already working with PepsiCo and Mitsui of Japan. Roquette recently acquired a plant protein extrusion plant in the Netherlands, after opening its own pea protein factory in France and starting the construction of a further facility in Canada.