Japanese government awards $2.2m to IntegriCulture
The company is building a facility for cellular agriculture products and has teamed up with Shiok Meats to scale cell-based shrimp meat
IntegriCulture has been awarded 240 million yen by the Japanese government to build a commercial production facility for cellular agriculture products such as cell-based meat.
Tokyo-based IntegriCulture has developed CulNet System technology, a general-purpose large-scale cell culture system that has applications in various sectors, including food such as cell-based meat, and non-food such as fur.
The patented CulNet System is a versatile cell culture platform technology that mimics cell-cell interactions and in vivo biochemical environment. The technology is theoretically capable of culturing any type of animal cell on a large scale at a minimal cost, allowing for a broad range of potential applications including cultured meat.
IntegriCulture has achieved the production of serum components by culturing various types of cells under automated and controlled laboratory conditions. By producing serum components within the system, it eliminates the use of fetal bovine serum and growth factors, which have been one of the acute cost drivers in conventional cell culture.
By culturing target cells with growth factor source cells in connected bioreactors, CulNet System utilises food grade culture medium to culture target cells without relying on immortalisation or externally added growth factors.
Unlike in conventional disposable batch systems, the CulNet System grows cells through continuous flow process, enabling the system to be expanded by simple parallelisation as well as increasing its volume.
IntegriCulture is also collaborating with Singapore’s Shiok Meats a cell-based clean meat company. IntegriCulture offers its food grade culture medium (SpaceSalt) and its CulNet System, which has worked well for beef and avian meat, and now the two companies are using the technology to scale cell-based shrimp meat.
The most expensive part of cell-based meats is the nutrient broth or cell culture media which is a liquid nutrient mix comprising proteins, carbohydrate/sugars, fats, vitamins, minerals and growth factors to enable the stem cells and cells to grow into meats.
The team is adapting the technology for shrimp cell cultures to develop inexpensive cultured serum for shrimp, hence removing the need for expensive growth factors or serum.
In May IntegriCulture announced it had raised ¥800 million ($7.42 million) in a Series A funding round.