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ScaleUp Bio announces initial customers from USA, Australia and Asia, supporting global food innovations

November 3, 2023

ScaleUp Bio, a pioneering, Singapore-based, CDMO provider of submerged microbial precision fermentation facilities, expertise and services, has announced an initial list of customers, underscoring strong global interest in the company’s unique value proposition.

Nourish Ingredients, C16 Biosciences, Ultimeat, and Allium Bio – among other prospective customers – each leverage submerged microbial and precision fermentation to develop sustainably produced ingredients for novel foods. ScaleUp Bio is playing a vital role in providing these innovators in the food-tech space with a bench-to-market pipeline, aiding them in scaling up to pilot-scale commercial production, breaking into Asian markets and beyond.

"We are truly excited to announce our first group of customer partners who are joining us in building the future of food through microbial precision fermentation,” commented Francisco Codoñer, CEO, ScaleUp Bio. “These companies recognize the significant growth opportunities for novel foods across Asia and understand the truly unique advantages ScaleUp Bio offers, enabling them to achieve their strategic business objectives and together, empowering the next food revolution.”

ScaleUp Bio was established in the third quarter of 2022 as a joint venture company of global nutrition leader ADM and Nurasa, a wholly owned company of Singapore’s global investment giant, Temasek. Charged to fulfil critical scaling-up gaps faced by global food tech innovators, ScaleUp Bio delivers a unique mix of facilities, expertise, experience, and essential services through a clear, Contract Development Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), fee-for-service business model. Both aspiring start-ups and established companies seeking to develop novel food innovations from bench to market, can avail of ScaleUp Bio’s offerings.

ScaleUp Bio is collaborating with its first customer partner, Australia’s Nourish Ingredients, to bring sustainable fermentation-based speciality fats to an Asian audience. ScaleUp Bio is uniquely positioned via its specialised expertise to deliver assistance, insights, and regulatory advice for companies to succeed in Asia.

Nourish Ingredients was founded in Australia in 2019 to create animalic fats that make plant proteins delicious. With a rise in consumer interest and market take-up for plant-based proteins, most manufacturers relied on palm and coconut oils to provide fats, which fail to deliver the animalic taste consumers want.

Nourish Ingredients has chosen Singapore as a strategic Asia Pacific hub for scaling production of its animal-free breakthrough fats, designed to provide global food and ingredient makers an ingredient that cooks, smells and tastes just like traditional meat for consumers. The company’s partnership with ScaleUp Bio will support 10,000 litres of fermentation capacity as well as 100 litres of thermal processing, to successfully scale production of speciality fats and unlock flavor for the next generation of plant-based proteins.

“Fats are an essential element that give meat and dairy their unique taste and texture, however, many plant proteins are laden with overprocessed ingredients or plant oils that fail to deliver on taste,” said Dr James Petrie, CEO, Nourish Ingredients. “Nourish Ingredients recreates the most potent, animalic fats sourced in nature without the animal, to unlock the flavor and experience consumers want and expect from plant-based products. Working with ScaleUp Bio will give us invaluable access to technical expertise and food-grade facilities, to help scale our fats. We look forward to deepening and expanding our partnership in the coming months,” added Dr Petrie.

ScaleUp Bio is also announcing it has received an initial number of signed Letters of Intent (LOI) from a diverse array of food innovators, another positive material development demonstrating robust interest from the global food-tech industry. Signing of a LOI in ScaleUp Bio’s customer development process ensures these prospective customers can reserve blocks of ScaleUp Bio mission-critical laboratory or pilot-production facility use early on. They can already begin incorporating those reservations in their business planning, while overall negotiations towards mutually beneficial customer agreements are completed.

The USA-based C16 Biosciences produces next-generation oils and fats to decarbonize the consumer products supply chain, starting with a sustainable alternative to palm oil and palm-derived ingredients.

The Malaysia-based Ultimeat is creating plant-based meat alternatives that are just as juicy, flavorful and tender as actual meat.

Singapore's Allium Bio, meanwhile, uses a novel co-culture fermentation technology to create sustainable and functional ingredients from algae and mycelium.

These and other new customer partners (to be announced) have embarked on a myriad of dynamic engagements to explore how they can leverage ScaleUp Bio’s offerings to customize their unique products for Asian novel food producers. The innovators recognize the specialized proposition provided by ScaleUp Bio, as future partnerships could potentially address the increasing demand for more sustainable, healthier and more affordable food products in the region.

ScaleUp Bio also announced it is in the final, pre-operational phase to open Singapore’s first, dedicated food-grade submerged microbial and precision fermentation facilities. Its two facilities are designed to support two distinct ScaleUp growth areas: research and development, and pilot-stage manufacturing.

The first facility, the Fermentation Joint Lab, is a research and development lab enabling global food tech start-ups to explore ideas for new food innovations with state-of-the-art equipment dedicated for food-grade fermentation purposes. It offers facilities and equipment calibrated for the unique needs of the alternative food industry. This is an important distinction, given that previously, most food tech start-up companies had to contend with laboratory facilities and equipment not previously calibrated for the food industry. The new facility addresses the critical need for this, for Singapore and Asia, with dedicated, food-grade fermentation facilities from inception.

The Fermentation Joint Lab is a jointly developed and operated facility by ScaleUp Bio and A*STAR’s (Singapore Agency For Science, Technology and Research) Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI). It is in Nurasa's Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC) - a centre for innovation with dedicated food-grade spaces and the communities designed to foster scientific and technical innovation, creativity, and collaboration within the food tech industry. Nurasa’s FTIC is located within Singapore’s Biopolis research district.

ScaleUp Bio’s second facility is a fully owned, dedicated, food-grade commercial production fermentation facility. It is a first for Singapore, and amongst only a few such globally – offering up to 10,000 liters fermentation capacity for pilot-stage manufacturing. Innovation hubs and technical specialists will be on hand to ensure quality control and safe production standards, coupled with a full suite of business advisory, Asia market entry and other related services. Also serving as ScaleUp Bio’s new headquarters, the facility is in the new, high-tech manufacturing and logistics district of Tuas, on the western side of Singapore island. Full operations are expected to commence in early 2024.

With today’s announcement of its initial customers and nearing completion of its state-of-the-art facilities, ScaleUp Bio joins a small but growing cadre of specialist B2B companies worldwide offering pure CDMO, end-to-end offerings to support innovation for the global food tech industry.

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

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