In the food protein industry, sustainability, climate change and animal welfare are a growing concern for many consumers, leading to soaring interest in alternative protein. This wide term encompasses a range of technology aiming to provide sustainable alternatives to meat production, such as plant-based meat, fermentation, and cultured meat.
“When you take animals out of the supply chain picture, one of the best ways to produce these ingredients to replace existing animal-based ingredients is fermentation,” said Michael Tai, co-founder and CEO of the U.S. startup Boston Bio.
However, there is less attention and investment devoted to helping synthetic biology startups scale up their production. This means there are few options to help them advance their process from the lab scale to the point where they can enter commercial production with a contract manufacturing organization (CMO). This was a problem frequently encountered by Tai when he worked as head of bioprocess at the plant-based company Motif FoodWorks, and what led him to launch Boston Bio this year.
“I had seen some of the problems that our own portfolio companies were having scaling up: having trouble finding the right talent, expertise and equipment,” said Boston Bios’ head of finance, Ted Netland, who also serves as an advisor at the alternative protein-focused venture capital (VC) firm Lever VC. “That was what led us to realize that there was an opportunity out there.”
To overcome the bottleneck in scaling up, Boston Bio offers process development services to clients that are developing food products such as meat and dairy proteins, fats, and flavorings. This helps startups to streamline their path to the commercial scale without needing to spend extra cash and time on upgrading their equipment.
In the long term, Boston Bio plans to produce its own proprietary ingredients, and could even branch out into other verticals, such as fragrances and flavors, cosmetics and renewable chemicals.
Read our full feature over on Labiotech!