Swiss Biotech Planetary and Japan’s Konica Minolta Partner to Cut Costs of Fermented Proteins

Swiss firm planetary SA (Planetary), the world’s first integrated biomass and precision fermentation CDMO, has partnered with the Japanese giant in imaging technology, Konica Minolta Inc. to optimize and reduce the production costs of its fermentation technologies.

The ultimate aim is to accelerate the production of fermented proteins, including dairy, egg, fats, and mycoproteins, that can compete with the prices of similar commodity products in the market.

The newly announced collaboration, following the signing of an MoU, involves using Konica Minolta’s advanced image-sensing tech and data-driven bioprocess to develop and implement new real-time monitoring and control operations. In addition, by leveraging the collected data and AI, the technologies can be further optimized. As a result, the companies expect to decrease the number of lost batches and achieve a further reduction of 20-30% in the cost of goods sold (COGS).

“Conventional food and material production systems are being disrupted by fermentation-based biomanufacturing. To achieve price parity, fit-for-purpose production sites need to be designed, strain performance optimized, bioprocesses innovated, controlled, and automated,” comments David Brandes, co-founder & CEO of Planetary.

A photo of David Brandes, CEO of Planetary.
David Brandes, CEO of Planetary © Image courtesy of Planetary

Biomanufacturing solutions

Planetary offers onboarding, upscaling, upstream processing, and downstream finished product formulations at various capacities. The company leverages aerobic microbial fermentation to produce proteins, ingredients, materials, and other bio-based products for partners worldwide.

It was founded in 2021 in Geneva to support the emerging biotech industry with a global network of automated production plants with industrial-scale fermentation capacity and intellectual property (IP) services. In 2022, Planetary raised $8 million in a seed funding round led by impact investor Astanor Ventures to construct the company’s flagship plant in Switzerland.

Other CDMOs at the service of the bioeconomy revolution include Singapore’s ScaleUp Bio (with two dedicated fermentation facilities), Germany’s The Cultivated B.( with a Canadian facility and innovation hub for biotech companies), and US Synonym Biotechnologies (with a platform and a dedicated database). 

On the other hand, Konica Minolta Inc. is renowned for its cameras, industrial radiometric instruments, 3D scanners, and various optical devices. The company is venturing into the fermentation industry to introduce cutting-edge sensing technologies and AI solutions.

“With our expertise combined, I believe this MOU can help us explore further avenues to strengthen our relationship and move toward a direction to solve the true bottleneck of the biomanufacturing industry at a global scale,” said Ryutaro Mori, Corporate VP & Chief Innovation Officer, at Konica Minolta.  

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