KU Leuven, VIB and Performa Investimentos establish GlobalYeast to deliver superior industrial yeast strains for the production of bio-ethanol and green chemicals

With a a close relationship between science, technology, market and entrepreneurship, GlobalYeast will focus on the Brazilian market and large groups worldwide

KU Leuven, VIB and Performa Investimentos, an independent Brazilian private equity and venture capital company, established GlobalYeast, a new company that will develop and deliver superior industrial yeast strains for bioethanol and the green chemicals industry. The company raised a total of 6.25 M EUR from an investor consortium composed of a Brazilian VC Fund (Performa Investimentos), two Belgian funds (KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fund and SOFI) and VIB and will focus on the Brazilian market and large groups worldwide.

Yeasts are used in the production of bio-ethanol from waste streams. Until recently, there were a number of important obstacles that prevented the efficient production of bio-ethanol. One of these was the fact that not one single strain of yeast was capable of converting the total amount of sugars in cellulosic biomass into ethanol. The Johan Thevelein lab (VIB/KU Leuven) succeeded in producing genetically engineered yeast strains capable of fermenting C5 sugars from concentrated and non-detoxified streams. GlobalYeast is based on the science and technology platform of Professor Johan Thevelein (VIB/KU Leuven) and will offer proprietary superior yeast strains, together with tools to monitor and control the fermentation process for the second and first generation – bioethanol and green chemicals industry. This full set of products and services will help their costumers to improve production and reduce production costs.

Its executive team is based both in Belgium, in the Bio-incubator facilities in Leuven, and Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, to conduct business development and R&D activities. The executive team will be headed by Dr. Marcelo do Amaral, an industrial scientist with extensive experience in industry, academia and consulting, who will lead the company’s business development from Brazil. Professor Johan Thevelein, scientific founder, will be the Chief Scientific Officer of GlobalYeast and will be in charge of all research and the continuous development and improvement of the technology platform.

Marcelo do Amaral, CEO of GlobalYeast: “I am really excited to announce the foundation of GlobalYeast. I believe that we have a unique concept based on a close relationship between science, technology, market and entrepreneurship provided by our founding investors. Our services and solutions, combined with the improved methodology to develop robust industrial yeast strains, will create value for our future customers.”

Johan Thevelein, scientific founder and CSO of GlobalYeast: “The strong collaboration and knowledge sharing between our research and our business development teams together with our clients and partners will ensure that we can work in the best possible conditions to launch essential products and services.”


KU Leuven, press release, 2015-10-27.


Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven)
Ghent University
Performa Investimentos