TurtleTree Scientific, the recently launched B2B unit of TurtleTree Labs that develops growth factors for cellular ag, today announced a “fully funded” collaboration with biotech company Dyadic International. Through this partnership, the two will develop recombinant food-grade growth factors for proteins that can be grown in high yields at lower costs in bioreactors. This could allow TurtleTree, which makes cell-cultured products (including human breastmilk) to scale up and get to market faster, paving the way for cultured meat and dairy companies to do the same.
Dyadic is known for its its C1 gene expression based on the Thermothelomyces heterothallica fungus. Via this platform, Dyadic can produce recombinant proteins at an industrial scale of up to 500,000 liters, with lower capital and operating expenditures than what cultured meat companies would normally find. The company’s tech has been used by some of the world’s most well-known biotech companies, including DuPont and BASF.
In a statement, TurtleTree cofounder and Chief Strategist Max Rye said that manufacturing human growth factors both at scale and at an affordable cost has been a major challenge, and that the partnership with Dyadic will help the company “overcome this hurdle” safely and efficiently.
Growth factors account for the bulk of the cost in cell-based protein production — 55 to 95 percent, by some accounts. Part of the reason for this, TurtleTree explained last month, is that cell culture media components have been developed for non-food areas like research and theraputics, which do not have the same scale requirements and cost constraints as food and agriculture production.
Ronen Tchelet, PhD, Dyadic’s Vice President of Research and Business Development, said in today’s press release that the company will engineer “hyper-productive” C1 cel lines to develop high bioactivity and yields suitable for commercial-scale productions. This will not only accelerate the timeline for TurtleTree’s business, it could also, according to Rye, “make cellular agriculture a reality for all” by enabling food-grade growth factors at an affordable price point to the wider cellular ag industry.