The Evolution of Microphyt – A Pioneer in Microalgae Innovation

Founded in 2007, Microphyt has grown from a small French startup into a leading SME in microalgae biotechnology. Known for its innovative solutions in producing natural ingredients for nutrition, cosmetics, and wellness, the company has made significant strides in the sector. This article explores the history of Microphyt, highlighting its origins, key milestones, and pioneering advancements that have positioned it at the forefront of sustainable biotechnology. Through scientific excellence and a commitment to sustainability, Microphyt exemplifies the dynamic spirit of French innovation.


Established in 2007 by Arnaud Müller-Feuga, a seasoned expert with 25 years of experience in microalgae technology, Microphyt initially comprised a small team that swiftly expanded and achieved notable milestones. In 2009, the company patented its Camargue PBR technology, a groundbreaking method involving the cultivation of microalgae in photobioreactors. PBR Camargue’s technology is the first hydro-biomimetic microalgae production technology in a tubular photo-bioreactor based on a patented two-phase flow process. Within just two years of its inception, Microphyt demonstrated its prowess in innovatively developing algae production processes, pioneering in a field where industrialization was still nascent.

The year 2013 marked a significant milestone as the company successfully secured 2 million euros from investors to further advance its biotechnology. Subsequently, in 2014, Microphyt welcomed a new managing director, Vincent Usache, with a strategic focus on applications in the food, dietary supplements, and cosmetics sectors. This strategic shift coincided with the company’s expansion and its transition towards a new industrial paradigm.

The decade from 2010 witnessed accelerated growth for Microphyt. In 2016, the company received substantial support from Horizon 2020, the European innovation program, which allocated nearly 1.8 million euros to Microphyt under the SMILE project. This three-year initiative, lasting until 2019, derived its name from the SMILE ingredient that Microphyt was pioneering at the time. Concurrently, Microphyt forged a strategic partnership with the APG Group in 2017, pooling resources to enhance their respective activities.

In 2019, the company successfully secured over 28 million euros, one of the largest rounds of financing in the microalgae sector, to further develop its ingredients for nutrition and well-being products, with notable backers including Sofinnova Partners and BPI France, the French public investment bank.

Official recognition of Microphyt’s groundbreaking work came in 2019 when the FDA granted PhaeSOL-BrainPhyt the status of a new dietary ingredient, facilitating its entry into the US market. On the European front, Microphyt earned further acclaim by joining the French Tech program. The French government chose Microphyt as one of the most promising start-ups to join the French Tech 120 support programme, dedicated to fast-growing companies and potential world leaders.

In 2020, leveraging the success of the SMILE project, Microphyt was selected by the BBI JU as part of an extremely competitive « Flagship » programme. The SCALE project brings together 11 leading international partners with the aim of participating in the development of the largest microalgae biorefinery in the world. The aim is to meet the growing demand for safe, effective and sustainably produced natural ingredients for applications in the wellness and nutrition sectors.

Interested by the project? Follow the SCALE project’s LinkedIn page to stay tuned to its progress and receive updates on the latest developments.