Wacker cooperates with Aleph Farms

08 Dec 2021

Wacker cooperates with Aleph Farms

Wacker enters the cultivated meat business through a strategic alliance with Israeli cultured meat company Aleph Farms.

Aleph Farms' supported and validated production technologies will provide food-grade proteins as a growth medium for the industry as a whole, removing significant cost barriers to large-scale cultured meat production, according to the joint press release of both companies. Aleph Farms specializes in cultured meat breeding. Wacker is a contract producer of proteins. Together, they aim to develop optimized production processes for essential growth medium proteins that enable cost-efficient production of cultured meat.

Growth media proteins are essential components that occur naturally in animals and are now the main cost drivers of cultured meat production. They serve as a nutrient-rich feed that supports the growth and maturation of cells into muscle, fat and collagen-producing cells and are essential for supporting cell activity. The goal of the new partnership is to significantly reduce the cost of these proteins by bringing the quality and size standard in line with the food industry.

The agreement between Wacker and Aleph Farms is non-exclusive, meaning any company producing cultured meat can source these proteins at affordable prices without using fetal bovine serum (FBS) or animal ingredients. It is expected that such an open supply chain solution will enable the industry as a whole to scale its capacity on an industrial scale and achieve price parity more quickly. This could then remove a previously existing barrier to the commercial viability of cultured meat.

"Reducing costs and providing suitable raw materials at this important time of production expansion is essential to drive the adoption of cultured meat," said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. "Investing in the development of a supply chain solution that is available to the entire industry is a direct result of our innovative and inclusive business model and the driver for our partnership with Wacker."

Wacker brings more than 20 years of experience in contract protein production to the partnership, with a deep understanding of food industry requirements and regulations. At its in-house research laboratories in Munich, the company is working on fermentation techniques to produce cell culture proteins for use in foods that have the same composition as proteins produced in the bodies of animals. Similar production processes are already being used to manufacture enzymes for food processing.

"The market for cultured meat is developing rapidly, and we want to help make it affordable for everyone," said Susanne Leonhartsberger, head of Wacker Biosolutions, Wacker's life science division. "Our scientists have developed advanced production technologies that we can draw on. With this platform, we are now entering the field of cultured meat. As the most technologically advanced company in this field, Aleph Farms is an ideal partner for us on this project."