Avant and A*STAR’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) have agreed to collaborate to jointly advance the scale-up of Avant’s proprietary process to enable cost-effective, food-grade production of Singapore-grown fish and beyond.
The parties will establish a joint research laboratory for the bioprocessing of cultured fish in Biopolis, Singapore, where both parties will jointly develop and optimize solutions for the scalable production of cultured fish cells. These include identifying key factors affecting cell growth in cultured fish and designing processes to improve scale-up and economics of production.
According to officials from Avant, which claims to be the first company in Asia to develop technologies for fish cell culture and has introduced several commercial products, including fish fillet and marine peptide. Avant also makes cultured fish maw. The company expanded its operations to Singapore in mid-2021 as part of its strategic development and commercialization plan.
Avant has hired a team of scientists and engineers for the joint research lab and is in the process of setting up its pilot production facility in Singapore by 2022. Singapore is the first country in the world to approve the sale of meat cultured, reports Avant, who expects their products to be subject to the same regulations under the Singapore Food Agency’s Novel Foods Regulatory Framework, which requires companies to seek pre-market assessment of new foods such as alternative protein products that do not have a history of food consumption.
Cultured meat has attracted global interest as an emerging alternative food source that is potentially more sustainable compared to traditional farming and is part of the broader field of cellular agriculture and aquaculture (see GEN2021 April 7, “Scientific Challenges and Solutions for Cultured Meat Processing”).
“Building on Avant’s existing experiences in fish cell culture and A*STAR’s expertise in bioprocessing, the collaboration will accelerate breakthroughs in methods for optimizing the culture process. cells for meat production,” predicts Carrie Chan, co-founder and CEO of Avant. “This will achieve process efficiency and cost reduction initially for fish cells. We expect to gain insight into methodologies that can potentially be applied to other cell types as well.
“Cultured seafood and meat is a great example of how the biomanufacturing sector can pivot to meet emerging needs. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of remaining adaptable and innovative. BTI is thrilled to partner and collaborate with Avant to make this happen,” adds Koh Boon Tong, PhD, Executive Director, Bioprocessing Technology Institute, A*STAR.