Qkine and 3D Bio-Tissues collaboration awarded €100,000 at EIT Food Venture Summit 2022

Prize money will be used to develop new solutions to reduce the cost of cultivated meat

A collaboration between Qkine and 3D Bio-Tissues has been awarded one of four prestigious prizes at the 2022 EIT Food Venture Summit, held in Lisbon, Portugal. The Cultivated Meat Innovation Challenge, in partnership with GFI Europe, was created with the aim of discovering pioneering solutions to decrease the cost of cell culture media, making cultivated meat affordable and accessible. The €100,000 prize will be used by Qkine and 3D Bio-Tissues to optimize animal-free culture media and accelerate the commercialization of cultivated meat.

Cellular agriculture has the potential to provide key elements of human nutrition without the environmental impact of traditional animal farming. It offers a feasible alternative for creating dietary meat, reducing the land and water demands and antibiotic use required by animal farming, while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Cell culture media is essential for the production of cultivated meat but it can be prohibitively expensive at scale. To implement cultivated meats at an industrial scale, efficient media feeds are needed to culture muscle and fat cells in bespoke bioreactors.

Qkine will combine their world-leading animal-free optimized growth factors with City-mix™ supplements, a novel serum-free media technology for culturing muscle and fat cells, developed by Newcastle-based 3D Bio-Tissues. Combining 3D Bio-Tissues highly innovative macromolecular crowding technology with Qkine high bioactivity growth factors has the potential to replace and enhance the functionality of protein components in culture media. This work will also utilize a thermostable engineered form of FGF-2 (bFGF) from Qkine. FGF-2 is an essential growth factor (cytokine) in pluripotent stem cell culture protocols. Qkine manufactures a new tag-free form of thermostable FGF-2 protein, FGF2-G3, for compatibility with regulated applications and industrial scale processes. This optimized form of the protein does not degrade in culture media, leading to a range of applications in the cultivated meat industry.

Together, Qkine and 3D Bio-Tissues will work to optimize the effectiveness of animal-free culture media, reducing the dependence on other protein compounds, increasing yields, and lowering the overall costs. This will pave the way for advances in cellular agriculture in the UK.

Dr. Catherine Elton, CEO of Qkine, commented “We are delighted to win this EIT/GFI prize to support our work with the innovative 3D Bio-Tissues team. Qkine is committed to establishing a UK-based supply chain for the cellular agriculture industry and contributing to building a more sustainable global future food system.”

Che Connon, Chief Executive of 3D-Bio Tissues, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Qkine, which has long been at the forefront of developing high-quality protein growth factors for research applications. Our mission is to accelerate the creation of affordable cultivated meat and we strongly believe combining 3DBT’s unique food-grade City-mix™ supplements with Qkine’s world-leading products can provide great strides toward reaching this goal, putting us on the path for a sustainable meat industry.”

For further enquiries, please contact Qkine at proteins@qkine.com.

Qkine manufactures high-purity, animal-free growth factors, cytokines and other complex proteins. Based in Cambridge, UK, Qkine combines proprietary production processes with protein engineering technology to tackle fundamental biological and scalability challenges for the fast-growing stem cell, organoid, regenerative medicine and cultured meat sectors.

3D Bio Tissues Ltd (owned by BSF Enterprise PLC), a tissue engineering with patent-protected IP that is already producing human corneas to help restore vision to millions of people. Building on this success, it aims to produce the UK’s first high quality lab-grown meat from its laboratory in Newcastle in the next 12 months, transforming the meat-production industry towards an ethical and sustainable practice.

EIT Food Venture Summit 2022