Continental Grain-backed RNA material producer GreenLight Biosciences is hoping to supply ingredients for RNA-based coronavirus vaccines after securing $17m in funding.

GreenLight Biosciences, a US-based RNA production business backed by food and commodities group Continental Grain, has collected $17m in a round featuring Flu Lab, Xeraya Capital and Baird Capital.

Founded in 2008, Greenlight has devised a bioprocessing method to facilitate large-scale production of ribonucleic acid – the biological molecule responsible for numerous genetic functions – without added safety risks.

GreenLight will use the funding to expand manufacturing in a bid to meet demand from Covid-19 vaccine producers should their treatments be proven effective.

The company has also begun researching its own Covid-19 candidates, having previously focused on general life and plant science research. It has now raised $112m of funding in total.

Continental Grain featured in a $50m round for GreenLight in January 2019 later revealed to have been led by investment firm TechAccel.

Alexandria Venture Investments, the strategic investment arm of real estate investment trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities, also contributed together with S2G Ventures, Baird Capital, Blue I/O and Tao Capital Partners.

GreenLight closed its $18m series D round led by Fall Line Capital in 2017 with contributions from Syngenta Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of agriculture company Syngenta, S2G Ventures, Macro Capital Investments, Lewis and Clark Ventures and existing investors including Kodiak Venture Partners, MLS Capital Fund.

MLS Capital Fund led a series C of undisclosed size for the business in 2015, investing alongside undisclosed new and existing investors.