Aleph Farms and WACKER develop open supply chain solution for proteins used in large-scale production of cultivated meat

Aleph Farms’s cultivated thin-cut beef steak (Photo credit: Aleph Farms)

Wacker’s production technologies, supported and validated by Aleph Farms, will provide food-grade growth-medium proteins to the entire industry with the aim to eliminate significant cost barriers for wide-scale cultivated meat production.

Aleph Farms, the first cultivated meat company to grow steaks directly from non-genetically engineered animal cells, and WACKER, a supplier of leading protein production technologies, has announced the development of streamlined production processes for essential growth medium proteins to cost-effectively grow cultivated meat. These proteins, central to promoting and supporting cell growth, are not widely available in the market today and represent one of the most prohibitive expenses in scaling up cultivated meat. The agreement between WACKER and Aleph Farms is non-exclusive, meaning any cultivated meat company will be able to obtain these same affordable proteins, without using foetal bovine serum (FBS) or animal-derived ingredients. This open supply chain solution is expected to enable the industry to scale and achieve price-parity faster, eliminating a key hurdle in the commercial viability of cultivated meat.

“Bringing down the cost and making suitable raw materials available at this key moment in the scale-up of production is imperative to taking cultivated meat mainstream and driving impact”, said Didier Toubia, co-founder and chief executive officer of Aleph Farms. “Investing in the development of a supply chain solution available to the entire industry is a direct result of our innovative and inclusive business model and the impetus behind our partnership with WACKER. Our team’s scientific expertise alongside WACKER’s vast experience, makes it possible to produce proteins at the quantity, quality and cost necessary to meet Aleph’s aggressive goal of achieving cost-parity with conventional meat.”

WACKER brings over 20 years of experience in protein production to the partnership, as well as a deep understanding of the food industry’s requirements and regulations. At its corporate research labs in Munich, WACKER is working on fermentation techniques for producing cell culture proteins for use in food applications, which will have the same composition of proteins produced inside the animal’s body. Similar production techniques are widely used today to produce enzymes for food processing applications.

“The market for cultivated meat is advancing rapidly and we want to contribute to making it an affordable reality for everyone,” said Susanne Leonhartsberger, president of WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS, WACKER´s life science division. “At WACKER, we have many years of experience in the field of protein production. Our scientists have developed advanced production technologies that we can draw on. With this platform, we are now entering the field of cultivated meat. As the most technologically advanced company in the field, Aleph Farms is an ideal partner for us in this project.”

Growth-medium proteins are essential components naturally found in animals and today represent the main cost drivers of cultivated meat production. They act as a nutrient-rich feed to help cells grow and mature into muscle, fat and collagen-producing cells and are imperative for supporting cellular activity. The aim is for this partnership to realise a significant reduction in the cost of these proteins by matching the standard of quality and scale to the food industry. The proteins are to be made available to all cultivated meat companies in the industry.