Cultivated Meat

Aleph Farms & Enzymit Develop Insulin Proteins for Cheaper Animal-Free Serum

Cultivated meat company Aleph Farms and biotech company Enzymit announce the successful development of new processing aids for animal-free serum in the form of insulin-like proteins, to support cell growth. This breakthrough will enable cost-efficiency in cultivating meat at scale.

The cultivated meat industry is rapidly growing but relies on expensive and low-scale pharmaceutical inputs that often do not meet the requirements for cell growth in bioreactors.

Aleph Farms, poised to reduce growth media costs to launch its petit steak at scale, explains that insulin proteins are not widely available in quantity, quality, and cost for large-scale production. Therefore, cell ag companies looking to grow slaughter-free meat must develop non-animal-derived processing aids to advance their operations, says Aleph Farms.

Dr. Neta Lavon and Dr. Zvika Tamari
Dr. Neta Lavon and Dr. Zvika Tamari © Aleph Farms

Developing processing aids

“Developing more suitable processing aids for the production of cultivated meat is imperative for driving economies of scale and taking cultivated meat mainstream,” said Neta Lavon, CTO of Aleph Farms. 

Enzymit leverages AI and deep learning to create new enzymes that fulfill unmet market needs. In collaboration with Aleph Farms’ team, the company produced new insulin proteins with the same function and more activity per molecule than those found in animals.

“This innovation, combining Enzymit’s outstanding protein design and experimental capabilities with our team’s expertise in cellular agriculture, is helping to build the foundations for our sector to achieve cost-efficiency and long-term impact,” added Lavon.

Aleph Farm's cultivated petit steak
Image courtesy of Aleph Farms

Beyond beef

Besides reducing the cost and time associated with the production of insulin proteins, this collaboration opens the door to further potential benefits. Insulin is a highly conserved protein across mammals and other species, allowing the production of different types of cultivated meat, such as pork and poultry.

“Aleph Farms has been an invaluable partner for this initiative, which can pave the way for more cost-efficient production of cultivated meat,” said Gideon Lapidoth, CEO of Enzymit. 

“With recombinant proteins currently accounting for the overwhelming majority of cell culture costs, creating highly stable and more active insulin substituents can markedly reduce the cost of growth media and increase efficiency in producing cultivated meat at scale.”

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