Avant and A*STAR’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) agreed to collaborate to jointly advance the scaleup of Avant’s proprietary process to enable cost-effective, food-grade production of cultivated fish in Singapore and beyond.

The parties will establish a Joint Research Laboratory for Cultivated Fish Bioprocessing in Biopolis, Singapore, where both parties will jointly develop and optimize solutions for scalable production of cultivated fish cells. These include the identification of key factors affecting the growth of cultivated fish cells, and the process design to improve scale-up and production economics.

The joint facility will tap into BTI’s deep in bioprocess R&D, including animal cell bioprocessing and multi-omics analytical sciences and technologies, according to officials at Avant, which claims to be the first company in Asia to develop technologies for fish cell cultivation and has showcased multiple commercial products, including fish fillet and marine peptide. Avant also makes cultivated fish maw. The company has 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 laboratory and is in the process of setting up their pilot production facility in Singapore by 2022. Singapore is the first nation in the world to approve the sale of cultivated meat, reports Avant, which expects their products to be subjected to the same regulations under the Singapore Food Agency’s novel food regulatory framework, which requires companies to seek pre-market assessment for novel food such as alternative protein products that do not have a history of being consumed as food.

Cultivated meat has gained worldwide interest as an emerging alternative food source that is potentially more sustainable in comparison to traditional livestock farming and constitutes part of the wider field of cellular agriculture and aquaculture (See GEN, April 7, 2021, “Scientific Challenges and Solutions for Cultured Meat Processing“).

“Building on the existing experiences of Avant’s in fish cell cultivation and A*STAR’s expertise in bioprocessing, the collaboration will accelerate breakthroughs in methods to optimize cell cultivation process for meat production,” predicts Carrie Chan, co-founder and CEO of Avant. “It will achieve process efficiency and cost reduction initially for fish cells. We expect to gain insights into methodologies that can potentially be applied in other cell types as well.”

“Cultivated seafood and meat is an excellent example of how the biomanufacturing sector can pivot to meet emerging needs. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of staying adaptable and innovative. BTI is pleased to partner and collaborates with Avant to achieve this,” adds Koh Boon Tong, PhD, Executive Director, Bioprocessing Technology Institute, A*STAR.