January 24, 2024

Novo Holdings co-leads oversubscribed financing round to support nutritious and sustainable food ingredients

With $45 million raised, Elo Life Systems will expand its pipeline of molecular-farming pipeline of healthy and sustainable ingredients, and expand its crop protection efforts to save bananas and other staple crops from disease and climate change

SAN FRANCISCO and DURHAM, NC, January 24, 2024 – Novo Holdings today announced it co-led an oversubscribed $20.5 million Series A2 financing round in Elo Life Systems, together with DCVC Bio. Elo is a North Carolina-based company that is harnessing the untapped potential of nature to make food tastier, healthier, and climate-resilient. With this financing, the company will progress the commercialization of their mogroside sweetener, increase their pipeline of molecular-farming ingredients, and expand crop protection and productivity efforts.

Elo’s first molecular-farming product is a natural, sweet mogroside product (like those from monk fruit), that is 300 times sweeter than sugar without calories or off-flavors – allowing it to reduce and replace sugar and artificial sweeteners while enhancing nutrition.

“At Elo, we’re on a mission to unlock nature’s abilities to make consumers’ favorite foods more delicious, healthy and planet friendly,” said Elo CEO Todd Rands. “With strong support from our investors, we’re well positioned to scale up our production and stay on track to launch our first product in 2026.”

Through its molecular farming platform, Elo can produce sought-after ingredients that are difficult to harvest from natural sources and cannot be synthesized through artificial or other techniques. The company uses easy-to-grow crops as biofactories for these ingredients, enabling local, commercial-scale production while reducing their cost and environmental footprint. In addition to the monk-fruit derived sweetener, the company’s molecular farming pipeline includes other ingredients, like novel proteins, natural preservatives, and high-value flavors and bio-actives.

“Molecular farming will help to allow our food system to meet the needs of the world’s growing population while reducing the resources needed to produce nutritious food,” said Stephen van Helden, principal, Bioindustrial Investments, Novo Holdings US. “Elo’s approach – together with cutting edge science and an experienced management team – is aligned with Novo Holdings’ purpose to deliver scaled solutions for better societal and planetary outcomes.”

Novo Holdings first invested in Elo in December 2021 and van Helden recently joined the Elo Board of Directors.

Elo is also using its technology platform, in partnership with Dole Food Company, to develop multiple banana varieties with resistance to the devastating fungal disease Fusarium Wilt. Fusarium Wilt is a fast-spreading pandemic threatening the continued cultivation of the $25 billion banana industry.

Elo is using its proprietary suite of tools, including a cutting-edge knowledge mining platform, gene discovery pipeline, trait validation workflows, genome editing platform and end-to-end expertise in translational agriculture, and has seen tangible progress and results across their programs.


About Elo Life Systems

Elo is reimagining the future of food – focusing on ingredients that empower consumers to feel good about the food they eat every day. From unique plant-based sweeteners to saving crops like the banana from extinction, Elo harnesses the untapped potential of nature to make food tastier, healthier and resilient while requiring less from the planet. To learn more, please visit

About Novo Holdings A/S

Novo Holdings is a holding and investment company that is responsible for managing the assets and the wealth of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The purpose of Novo Holdings is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet by generating attractive long-term returns on the assets of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Novo Holdings is the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S and manages an investment portfolio with a long-term return perspective. In addition to managing a broad portfolio of equities, bonds, real estate, infrastructure and private equity assets, Novo Holdings is a world-leading life sciences investor. Through its Seeds, Venture, Growth, and Principal Investments teams, Novo Holdings invests in life science companies at all stages of development.

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an independent Danish foundation with corporate interests. It has two objectives: 1) to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of the companies in the Novo Group; and 2) to support scientific, humanitarian and social causes.
The vision of the Foundation is to contribute significantly to research and development that improves the lives of people and the sustainability of society. Since 2010, the Foundation has donated more than DKK 30 billion ($5 billion), primarily for research at public institutions and hospitals in Denmark and the other Nordic countries. Read more at

Further information

Dora González, Public Relations Specialist, phone,