IntegriCulture held the 4th CulNet®︎ Consortium Steering Committee meeting: Had a positive discussion on the strategy for setting up Japan's inaugural cell-based meat production line and the latest research by Professor Shimizu of Tokyo Women's Medical University

Tokyo, Japan, March 25, 2024 - IntegriCulture Inc., focusing on advancing "cellular agriculture" to create food and ingredients from cells convened the 4th CulNet® Consortium Steering Committee meeting of the company's open innovation platform "CulNet®︎ Consortium". During the session, we discussed our initiatives for Japan's first "cell-based food production" to commence from the fiscal year 2024 with all 14 participating companies, and also exchanged insights on current international industry trends and the research landscape in academia.

Last December, IntegriCulture won the grant from the “SME Innovation Creation Promotion Fund" project of Japan Association for Techno-Innovation in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (JATAFF) for the "Substantiation of cell-based food production using CulNet® system". Following this adoption, we will initiate the pilot-scale testing of Japan's inaugural cell-based meat production line starting in the FY 2024. The Committee proactively shared updates on the production line and system with each participating company, fostering discussions on scaling up operations and exploring future development elements.

Each company presented with updates on collaborative research efforts covering the development of "I-MEM2.0 (See the link)" a food grade basal medium minimizing the use of highly refined materials, along with innovations in low-cost bioreactors, highly efficient culture bags, nutritional supply substrates and microcarriers designed for cellular agriculture. These discussions underscored the diverse advancements underway towards the commercialization of the cell-based meat industry.

We are sequentially launching sales of the deliverables developed by IntegriCulture and the consortium on "Ocatté (Open Cellular Agriculture Technology Transfer Écosystem) Base" marketplace, a shared platform for cellular agriculture infrastructure, which is scheduled for release in April 2024. Ocatté Base serves as a hub for all stakeholders of cellular agriculture to exchange materials including cell culture media derived from food ingredients with higher anticipated safety levels. Additionally, we'll provide our accumulated expertise in cellular agriculture, acquired through past research and development endeavors, to help significantly expedite the development process.

Left: Professor Shimizu at Tokyo Women's Medical University
Right: Cellular agriculture system utilizing Circular Cell Culture (CCC), where function of growth factor producing cell culture is replaced to CulNet® system

In this committee, we were honored to have Professor Tatsuya Shimizu, Director of the Institute of Advanced Biomedical Engineering and Science at Tokyo Women's Medical University, gave a presentation on the latest research developments in cell-based meat.

Professor Shimizu highlighted the forthcoming challenge of environmental impact associated with grain cultivation, a crucial nutrient source for the culture medium, amid the expanding market of cell-based meat production. He presented the latest research updates, introducing ongoing development of a novel Circular Cell Culture (CCC) system, in which microalgae are used as nutrient supply as a solution to this challenge. The CCC system is a resource-recycling cell-based meat production system that cultivates animal cells using nutrients sourced from algae and recycles waste liquid from animal cell cultivation through algae reuse. This is an achievement resulting from our participation in the Moonshot-Type Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Research and Development Project (See reference link). The Consortium continues to keep an eye on this project as one of the key technologies for achieving low environmental impact through cellular agriculture.

We, alongside all consortium members, are dedicated to advancing the commercial production and business realization of cell-based meat as we envision an economically viable future of cellular agriculture.

Participants in the 4th Consortium steering committee meeting
Front row, 3rd from the left: CEO Hanyu; to his right, Professor Shimizu

Comments from Yuki Hanyu, CEO of IntegriCulture Inc.
Particularly overseas, cellular agriculture seems to have reached the constraints of advancing current technology, leading to increased expectations for "second-generation" advancements. The consortium is confident that the key lies in effectively developing this technology.

■ CulNet® System Overview:
The CulNet® is a bioreactor system that mimics inter-organ interactions within animal bodies. Through lab-scale validation experiments, we have successfully generated serum-like components using the CulNet® System. This breakthrough enables cell cultivation without the addition of FBS or growth factors, which were previously considered essential. Recognizing challenges related to cost and animal welfare associated with FBS, there is a growing demand for alternatives. The CulNet® System is expected to address this need by facilitating "low-cost cell cultivation" without FBS or growth factors, positioning itself as a platform technology for cellular agriculture.

■ CulNet® Consortium:
With the projected global population reaching 10 billion by 2050, concerns arise regarding the supply of protein with conventional methods, due to depletion of resources such as energy, feed, land, and water. While alternative protein sources like plant-based ingredients and insects gain recognition, cell-based meat produced through cell cultivation emerges as a promising method closely resembling conventional meat. However, challenges persist in terms of cost, safety, and scalability. Therefore, the CulNet® Consortium was established on April 1, 2021, to address these challenges collaboratively through open innovation, involving companies from various sectors and industries. The consortium aims to solve issues related to media, scaffolding, equipment, and to build a future-proof supply chain. As the consortium enters its third year since inception, it boasts 14 participating companies (as of February 14, 2024).
For details of CulNet® Consortium:

Participating companies in CulNet®Consortium: 
Fourteen companies in total (in alphabetical order): IntegriCulture Inc., A Laboratories LLC, Asahi Kasei Co., DAI-DAN Co., Daiwa Can Co., Ebara Co., Nichirei Foods Inc., Hamano Products Co., Japan Tobacco Inc., San-Ei Gen F.F.I., Inc., Sumitomo Riko Co., TAIYO NIPPON SANSO Co., and two other companies as of February 14, 2024.

Description of Ocatté Base service
Ocatté Base" is a new marketplace launched by IntegriCulture for companies involved or interested in cellular agriculture to provide food-grade substrates and information. Ocatté refers to the kitchen, and it is said to have originated from the medieval samurai society, where servants could behave freely, chatting and laughing without worrying about their masters' eyes. Over time, Ocatté has evolved into a space for family communication, where children can learn something through dietary habits, and become a cornerstone of current Japanese cuisine. Drawing a picture that anyone around the world can cook cell-based meat in their kitchen just like regular cooking with the emergence of a new food culture, we will provide food grade cellular culture materials used in this pioneer production line, as well as deliverables produced by companies participating CulNet® Consortium through this service. Based on our extensive experience and accumulated knowledge in cell-based meat, we believe that substrates such as food grade basal medium or relevant information and expertise in cellular agriculture are essential elements in the study and commercialization of this field. Our service is dedicated to promptly opening and providing these essential requirements to the public, supporting companies and organizations venturing into cellular agriculture by facilitating the creation of an environment conducive to smooth deliberation and business initiation. This will enable us to drive the early formation and growth of the cellular agriculture industry, aligning with our mission to advance and promote the development of cellular agriculture infrastructure. IntegriCulture, aiming to lead the way in industrializing cellular agriculture and advancing cell-based meat within global food culture, will launch in 2024 with the sale of food grade cell culture materials, followed by consultation services planned for fiscal year 2025 and beyond.

Product lineup of food grade materials (at the time of 2024)
- Basal medium I-MEM 1.0
- Cell dispersion solution
- Cell cryopreservation medium
- Extracellular matrix coating solution