A new joint venture between global nutrition company ADM and Singapore investment firm Temasek’s Asia Sustainable Foods Platform, ScaleUp Bio, will provide precision fermentation services for the food industry.
In a multi-year partnership with the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) – a division of Singapore’s public R&D organisation, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) – the JV will run a joint lab focused on precision fermentation.
The lab is expected to be operational this financial quarter and will be based in the Food Tech Innovation Centre (FTIC) at Biopolis.
ScaleUp Bio CEO Francisco Codoñer said the JV was in response to the strong demand for alternative protein sources.
“More companies are developing new alternative protein solutions to meet these needs. With our facilities and technical know-how, we are well-positioned to support and help these companies advance their fermentation innovations,” Codoñer said.
It is the latest development from the JV announced in November 2021. At the time, the Asia Sustainable Foods Platform and SIFBI committed to invest just over $31 million over the next three years in FTIC. The FTIC would provide food tech companies and start-ups with access to tailored infrastructure and services including a food grade pilot scale facility with extrusion and fermentation equipment, shared labs, test kitchens, co-working spaces, and A*STAR’s R&D experience.
Scale-Up Bio will provide start-ups with fermenters that can support up to 100 litres in capacity, associated downstream processing units and relevant testing, and analytical equipment for full optimisation.
Upon maturity of their growth cycle, start-ups can transition to ScaleUp Bio’s new facility, which can further support up to 10,000L fermentation capacity.
ADM senior vice president and president, Asia-Pacific, and chair of ScaleUp, Joe Taets, said it was a first-of-its-kind JV for ADM.
“Bringing our global capabilities and industry-leading fermentation expertise to existing and aspiring food-tech companies, we’re proud to continue paving the way to a more sustainable food system to meet the world’s increasing demand for nutritious food products,” Taets said.
Asia Sustainable Foods Platform CEO Mathys Boeren said the precision fermentation joint lab was the first of many offerings within the FTIC.
The Asia Sustainable Foods Platform is a wholly owned company of Temasek created to accelerate the commercialisation of nutritious, affordable, and sustainable foods in the region.
“As a one-stop shop, our goal is to help food start-ups address pain points for food-tech businesses, such as long wait-times for pilot-scale facilities and equipment; the lack of deep product and process development capabilities; and the difficulty in navigating regulatory processes and understanding unfamiliar markets in other parts of Asia,” Boeren said.
SIFBI executive director Dr Hazel Khoo said, “The collaboration with ScaleUp Bio is a great example of how public-private sector partnerships can contribute significantly to the food tech landscape here in Singapore. We look forward to collaborating with start-ups and MNCs in the alternative protein space to innovate sustainable food solutions that can also scale to market rapidly.”