Aleph Farms and Munich-based Wacker have come together in a new open supply chain agreement. The move will see Wacker offering food-grade growth medium proteins to all Aleph’s cultivated meat operations. Removal of cost barriers is the intended aim, with Aleph pushing for a resulting wide rollout of cultivated product manufacture.
Makers of the world’s first non-GMO cultivated steak, back in 2018, Aleph will validate findings by using the proteins itself. The company is calling for a community of cultivation specialists to share knowledge and is leading by example, with a non-exclusive working agreement with Wacker.
Aligned and adaptive
Aleph says that it chooses its partners based on shared values. It has been working with Wacker for some time, co-creating streamlined processes for manufacturing essential growth medium proteins. The proteins replace fetal bovine serum (FBS), alleviating the industry of expense and ethical stumbling blocks.
“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,” said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph. “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.”
Choosing to share the technology and advances with the entire cultivated meat sector, the supply between Aleph and Wacker is open. It is hoped that this will allow the whole industry to scale up and reach price parity more quickly. This would then lead to faster commercial availability, barring any unforeseen regulatory approval hurdles.
“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. “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.”
Aleph has a history of partnerships designed to progress the agenda of cultivated meat. Earlier this year, the company revealed it was working with Thai Union and CJ CheilJedang, two of Asia’s biggest food companies. The relationships are designed to enable fast positioning in the competitive Asia-Pacific (APAC) market, once approval is granted for the commercial sale of cultivated meat.
A growing trend for animal-free growth medium
The Aleph and Wacker partnership sets itself apart by offering benefits to the cultivated meat sector globally. Elsewhere, a host of companies are announcing FBS-free growth mediums, but not as part of an open supply chain agreement.
In South Korea, CellMEAT has just revealed its new serum media for “100 percent ethical cultivated meat”. CSF-A1 has been developed to bring industry progress to South Korea, in a bid to compete with more established markets such as the U.S. and Israel.
Upside Foods has just unveiled its own FBS-free cell feed. Used to produce selected chicken products, it will be used throughout the entire product portfolio when approval is granted. The company remains hopeful this will happen in 2022.
All images courtesy of Aleph Farms.