May 10, 2024 - Business

Startup raises $26.5 million for vaccine to stop cow farts and burps

Illustration of a steer in a pile of money with money in it's mouth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

ArkeaBio, a Boston developer of a vaccine to reduce livestock methane emissions, raised $26.5 million in venture capital funding led by an investment fund founded by Bill Gates.

Why it matters: Caring about cow farts (or burps) has become a political punchline, but they're estimated to create more than 5% of global greenhouse gasses.

  • Vaccines could be a relatively low-cost, scalable solution, particularly as food demand increases.

The science: Methane is much more potent than is carbon dioxide, in terms of its trapping atmospheric heat, although it also dissipates down faster.

The deal: Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the Series A round, and was joined by Grantham Foundation, AgriZeroNZ, Rabo Ventures, Overview Capital and The51 Food & AgTech Fund.

  • BEV previously funded ArkeaBio's $12 million seed round.

The bottom line: The whole thing feels a little dystopian — giving animals injections so they cook the planet a little less before we cook some of them — but agribusiness sailed over the dystopian hurdle long ago.

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