Thursday, July 14, 2016

Biotech startup plans to fight illegal poaching by flooding "the market with cheap fake rhino products"

Pembient is moving quickly to bring its fake horns to market, beginning with a partnership with one of Beijing's largest breweries to make a rhino horn beer that will launch later this year. (Rhino horn has a reputation as a hangover cure, and is already used—on a smaller, illegal scale—in homemade spirits). The startup also developed a skin care line it plans to spin off, and will supply the product to traditional medicine pharmacies in places like China. The synthetic rhino horn will be sold as a branded ingredient in other products, like the Gore-Tex of the Asian supplement market.

The product will be sold as a powder and in horn form. In the last couple of months, while in residence at the San Francisco-based biotech accelerator IndieBio, the company figured out how to 3-D print powder into the shape of horns.