Prolific Machines to Harness Light to Deliver Unprecedented Cellular Control, Enabling Higher-Quality and Never-Before-Possible Bioproduct Solutions — Beginning a New Era of Synthetic Biology

June 06, 2024


Company closes $55M Series B1 financing and announces groundbreaking photomolecular biomanufacturing platform to unlock robust market applications across cultivated meat, nutritional protein production, pharmaceuticals, and beyond.


EMERYVILLE, Calif. (June 6, 2024) — Prolific Machines, the photomolecular biology innovator ushering in a new era of biomanufacturing by growing and controlling cells with light, today announces it has closed an initial round of $55M Series B financing, including convertible notes, for a total of $86.5M in funding to date. This first close was led by The Ki Tua Fund, the corporate venture arm of Fonterra Co-operative Group, with participation from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Mayfield, SOSV, Shorewind Capital, Darco Capital, Continental Grains, In-Q-Tel (IQT), David Chang, and several others.


Founded by CEO, Deniz Kent; CTO, Max Huisman; and CIO, Declan Jones in 2020, Prolific Machines set out to find a more efficient and sustainable way to manufacture the critical everyday products, like food and medicine, on which our future rests. Over the past four years, Prolific has developed a platform that will allow commercial partners to more efficiently produce higher-quality biological products across cellular agriculture, nutritional protein production, therapeutic protein production, tissue engineering, disease models, drug screening, and more.



Today’s cellular biology processes — used for everything from making the antibodies necessary for immunotherapies to fermentation used to make the high-value nutritional proteins found in infant formula — are constrained by expensive, inefficient, and imprecise molecular methods. The unparalleled precision of light breaks this control paradigm and allows the Bay Area company to control any cellular function in any cell type. Prolific brings together safe and effective tools — light, bioengineering, hardware, and AI — in fundamentally new ways. This round of funding will accelerate the company’s platform commercialization via partnerships in the months ahead.


Prolific Machines’ photomolecular biomanufacturing platform commercially leverages light, a universal input to both biological and mechanical systems, to guide cellular behavior and optimize performance over time using AI technology. Inspired by the burgeoning field of optogenetics, Prolific Machines’ novel approach uses light to more efficiently and effectively control biology. In doing so, it stands to revolutionize biomanufacturing as we know it, creating new and superior bioproduct solutions that can be made more efficiently and consistently.


The first applications of this innovation will soon be announced in upcoming partnerships. By adding more control to biological production, Prolific Machines allows its partners to more efficiently biomanufacture high-value bioproducts. Examples include nutritional proteins, antibodies to treat diseases, whole cuts of cultured meat, higher fidelity disease models, and other innovations never before possible.


“We set out with a vision to use one of our most abundant resources – light – to create an exponentially better way to control biology. I’m beyond proud of our team for making this vision a reality. We have proven that we can successfully control several cellular processes using light. This enables unparalleled control in both the space and the time axes, and this control is critical to making cheaper and higher quality products. I’m thrilled to be introducing the platform we have built to the world, and I'm excited to see all the different ways our partners will use it. We have only scratched the surface of what’s possible with our technology,” said Prolific Machines Co-Founder and CEO, Deniz Kent, PhD. “We have an incredible group of investors and commercial partners joining us to scale our impact. Stay tuned for some big announcements from us in the months ahead.”


“I joined Prolific because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to use the immensely powerful optogenetics tools to bring new and superior bioproducts to life across diverse commercial applications,” said Max Hoerner, PhD, Prolific Machines Head of Optogenetics and former PI in the space. “This is the first time light’s ability to control cellular functions is being used outside of research labs to make everyday essentials. It’s incredibly exciting and the start of something very big for lots of different industries.”


"We are excited about Prolific Machines' potential to dramatically lower the costs of producing biologics such as protein therapeutics, vaccines, and engineered antibodies,” said Eugene Chiu, Senior Partner at IQT. “Scalable biomanufacturing is vital to the continuous supply of medicines and medical countermeasures that can be crucial for health and biosecurity for the nation and the world.”


Prolific Machines plans to scale its impact through existing and new partnerships, engaging customers who are looking for higher quality, more precise, more efficient ways to biomanufacture novel and existing ingredients and products. Visit to learn more, and contact to inquire about co-developing the future of biology with Prolific Machines.



About Prolific Machines


Prolific Machines is ushering in a new era of biomanufacturing using light. The Bay Area company harnesses light to more efficiently produce everyday essentials, from foods to lifesaving drugs, with superior quality along with bioproducts never before possible. Its groundbreaking photomolecular biology platform leverages optogenetics tools, alongside patented hardware and AI, to unlock unparalleled cellular precision and dynamic control over any cell function in any cell type. Prolific is co-developing the future of biology with innovators across pharmaceuticals, nutritional protein production, and cellular agriculture to create a healthier, more sustainable tomorrow. Prolific Machines is supported by leading investors, including The Ki Tua Fund, the corporate venture arm of the Fonterra Co-operative Group; Breakthrough Energy Ventures; Mayfield; SOSV; In-Q-Tel (IQT); and others. Visit to learn more, and contact to inquire about co-developing the future of biology.



About Ki Tua Fund


Ki Tua is to ‘go beyond’ not just to seek an answer or objective in the known but to also open our minds to the unknown, to the possibilities that innovation can create. At Ki Tua Fund we invest in, partner, and work with extraordinary founders and start-ups, to accelerate and scale disruptive solutions together. Combining science, nutrition, and technology to make a positive impact on health. Ki Tua Fund is an independent arm of the Fonterra Co-operative Group, which brings real-world experience and expertise, drawing on nearly 100 years of capability and ingenuity, manufacturing and distribution experience. Ki Tua Fund’s standalone operating model provides the independence to be agile and responsive in working alongside start-ups.



Media Contact:


Prolific Machines

Nicki Briggs, MS, RDN


Ki Tua

Hamish Gowans