future of protein production with plates with healthy food and protein

FPP Chicago Speaker Interview: Zoe Yu Tung Law, CEO & Co-founder, New Wave Biotech

February 29, 2024

With more than a decade of experience in launching transformative technology, Zoe Yu Tung Law is well placed to discuss the role of AI in enhancing R&D in the alt proteins industry

Law is CEO and Co-Founder of New Wave Biotech, a UK-headquartered firm that offers AI-powered process optimization software solutions. At The Future of Protein Production Chicago, the focus of Law’s presentation will be on how to streamline the path to scalable alternative protein production with AI-enhanced R&D. So, what’s the ‘elevator pitch’ summary of this presentation? “With slow and expensive R&D cycles, overcoming the 'valley of death' is one of the biggest challenges as 90% of synbio technologies fail to scale,” Law begins. “Our AI downstream process optimization software is transforming alt protein scaling and propeling R&D efficiency by simulating thousands of processes, predicting outcomes, and iteratively learning to enhance output, quality, cost and sustainability. Delegates will discover how we’re transforming bioprocess R&D and helping alt protein companies get to market quicker, cheaper, and more sustainably.”

On the critical issue of scale, Law acknowledges that scaling up alt proteins today is incredibly difficult. “Not only is there a shortage of facilities, the current ways of doing R&D also makes reaching a scalable process very difficult. This is because bioprocess development is very complex, with over one trillion possible parameter combinations for each process, and the process may not work the same at different scales, with many interacting variables.

“Currently, process development and optimization is a very manual process that is reliant on continuous trial and error. When experiments cost US$10,000-100,000 each, and must be booked three to six months ahead, perhaps it’s no surprise that R&D typically takes three to 10 years from lab to market, and many companies just run out of money before they find the right processes to scale viably.”

What are the ‘right’ processes here, then? Law believes that the cost and scalability of alt protein production can be dramatically improved by leveraging cutting-edge digital technologies such as AI. “For example, our software can simulate thousands of processes to predict output, quality, cost and sustainability to recommend the highest potential ones to experiment on,” Law details. “To provide a sense of the impact: to conduct 1,000 experiments the traditional way takes 27 years and US$10 million-100 million. With our way, it’s one hour and US$15,000-60,000.”

To conduct 1,000 experiments the traditional way takes 27 years and US$10-100 million. With our way, it’s one hour and US$15,000-60,000

If that already sounds too good to be true, Law adds that, “The system also learns from the experimental data to find ways to continuously improve production. This completely transforms how synbio technologies are developed.”

Assessing the industry as a whole, Law reports being excited to see great innovation being used to address the key challenges of reaching price and taste parity in traditional alt protein products. “We’re already seeing a range of new innovative synbio companies producing functional ingredients such as collagen, fats and lactoferrin, which will hugely improve taste, texture and nutrition of alt proteins. There’s also the rise of new enabling technologies, such as ours, across different parts of the supply chain. Our focus is on optimizing bioprocessing, but there’s also AI strain development software such as EdenBio, accelerated evolution such as Evolutor, continuous fermentation equipment such as Pow.Bio and novel new DSP methods such as Holiferm that are completely changing how bioprocessing is done.”

And Law predicts much more progress on the horizon, too: “As many governments, such as the USA, EU, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and China are supporting the sector’s growth, and we’re seeing big companies such as Mondelēz, Nestlé and Mars all investing in this area, within the next five to 10 years, alt proteins will no longer be ‘alternative’.”

Law is proud to play a role in encouraging such transformation. “With the climate emergency being on my mind for a while, I really wanted to use my skills to make a positive impact in this area. Food is such a huge part of our daily life, health and culture, but it also accounts for 34% of emissions and its supply is threatened by climate change. My Co-Founder, Oli and I, believe alt proteins have the power to transform our food system’s sustainability, and were shocked that 90% of synbio technologies fail to scale, which is why we decided to start New Wave Biotech to use our skills to help these alt proteins get to market quicker, cheaper, and more sustainably.”

Zoe will be giving a presentation at The Future of Protein Production Chicago called, ‘Streamlining the path to scalable alternative protein production with AI-enhanced R&D’, which takes place at McCormick Place on 24/25 April 2024. Book your tickets today to come and hear a further 75 speakers, 30 presentations, eight panel discussions and network with +400 other attendees. Click here

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

About the Speaker

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Every week, you’ll receive a compilation of the latest breakthroughs from the global alternative proteins sector, covering plant-based, fermentation-derived and cultivated proteins.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.