IntegriCulture Inc. was awarded JPY 240 million for the Product Commercialization Alliance (PCA) program by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. This budget will be allocated for building a commercial production facility of cellular agriculture products such as cell-based meat.
■Description of the granted project
Title: Development of commercial production site for cellular agriculture products such as cell-cultured meat
A consortium of companies develops a commercial CulNet System, a general-purpose, large-scale cell culture technology. The project scales, automates and integrates quality controls into a CulNet System unit to establish a commercial production site to launch cellular agriculture products such as cell-based foie gras and meat from 2021 and 2023.
■About New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)
NEDO is a national research and development organization that fosters innovation by supporting the development of sustainable technologies.
As an innovation accelerator, NEDO aims to develop and demonstrate high-risk, innovative technologies and its implementation with the aim of solving modern social issues.
■Purpose of PCA program
The program supports companies with 1) a business plan that achieves sustainable revenue within three years (from the time of the proposal) for a commercial product to be developed, a solid financial plan, an organizational capability to achieve these goals (internal and external collaborative schemes, etc.), and a high financial necessity to achieve commercialization of a product.
IntegriCulture develops its unique CulNet System technology, a general-purpose large-scale cell culture system that has applications in various sectors, including food such as cell-based meat, and non-food such as fur.
The patented CulNet System™ is a versatile cell culture platform technology that mimics cell-cell interactions and in vivo biochemical environment. The technology is theoretically capable of culturing any type of animal cell on a large scale at a minimal cost, allowing for a broad range of potential applications including cultured meat. IntegriCulture Inc. has achieved the production of serum components by culturing various types of cells under automated and controlled conditions at a laboratory scale. By producing serum components within the system, it eliminates the use of fetal bovine serum and growth factors, which have been one of the acute cost drivers in conventional cell culture.
■IntegriCulture’s patented networked coculture system (the “CulNet™ System”)
By culturing target cells with growth factor source cells in connected bioreactors, “CulNet System” utilizes food grade culture medium to efficiently culture target cells without relying on immortalization or externally added growth factors.
Unlike in conventional disposable batch systems, the CulNet System grows cells through continuous flow process, enabling the system to be expanded by simple parallelization as well as increasing its volume.