Country Garden Venture Capital returned to reinvest in Bluepha having led the the bioplastics developer’s series B2 round five months ago.

China-based biodegradable synthetic material developer Bluepha received RMB870m ($137m) in series B3 funding yesterday from investors including property developer Country Garden, as the global secondary sector seeks to produce sustainable plastic alternatives.

Genesis Capital and the China State Owned Enterprises Mixed Ownership Reform Fund co-led the round, which included Zhongping Capital, FreesFund, GL Ventures and Trinity Innovation Fund, while the corporate was represented by Country Garden Venture Capital (CGVC).

The deal came after series B1 and B2 rounds in 2021 and helped push the company’s overall series B funding to $235m, it said.

Founded in 2016, Bluepha is developing biomanufacturing technology focusing on sustainable plastic substitutes dubbed polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) – a biodegradable material that is produced with microbial fermentation – that can be used in the agricultural, consumer, healthcare and electronics industries.

Bluepha is building a factory in the Chinese province of Jiangsu in a bid to create 25,000 tons of PHA plastics every year and is also in the process of increasing its products’ application to skincare and cosmetics products. Singapore-based RWDC Industries is another company working on commercialising PHA.

CGVC had led Bluepha’ $66.3m series B2 round, in August 2021, which included Septwolves Venture Capital, a subsidiary of clothing manufacturer Septwolves, as well as Fangyuan Capital, FreesFund, GL Ventures, Huaxing Health Capital, Lightspeed China Partners, Qianhai FOF, Qihang Capital, Taihecap and Trinity Innovation Fund.

GL Ventures and Lightspeed China Partners had co-led a $30m series B1 round for the company six months earlier, participating with Septwolves Venture Capital, Frees Fund, Qianhai Fund of Funds, Trinity Innovation Fund, Zhongguancun Development Frontier Enterprise Investment Fund and Zhongguancun Development Qihang Innovation Investment Fund.

Bluepha raised an eight-digit yuan amount in a mid-2020 series A-plus round that included Green Pine Capital Partners, following a $5.7m series A round the year before backed by Frees Fund, Zhongguancun Development Frontier Enterprise Investment Fund, Zhongguancun Development Qihang Innovation Investment Fund and Qianhai FOF.

Frees Fund and Leaguer had chipped into a $1.6m pre-series A round for the company in 2018 that came in the wake of an angel round in the seven-digit yuan range featuring Frees Fund and Tsinghua University-run Lotus Lake Capital a year earlier.

Girish Nadkarni, the outgoing president of TotalEnergies Ventures, part of oil and energy group TotalEnergies, told Global Corporate Venturing early last year that bioplastics would be one of the trends among corporate venturers in 2021.

Recently formed corporate venturing units such as Pascual Innoventures and Thai Wah Ventures have identified bioplastics as a focus area, possibly thanks to the awareness raised by the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference – more commonly known as COP26 – in October 2021.