2nd November 2022 Content supplied by: Synonym Biotechnologies, Inc.
Synonym's Capacitor.bio Wants to Make Finding Fermentation Capacity Easier
As of late, there have been many exciting advancements in the fermentation-derived alternative protein space, including substantial product improvements in nutritional value, taste, and texture. However, despite this progress, small-to-medium-sized startups face major challenges in scaling up their fermentation-based manufacturing processes. Synonym, Inc. is a venture-backed startup that seeks to propel companies over these scale-up hurdles. By developing, financing, and building fermentation facilities, Synonym is an ideal partner for startups looking to scale up and get their products to market.
In this newprotein exclusive interview, we ask Joshua Lachter, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer at Synonym, to tell us about a news announcement they've made today, Synonym's plans for their “fermentation farms” and how they can help innovators achieve scale in the alternative protein and broader synthetic biology market.Q: What did Synonym announce this week?
Joshua: Alongside The Good Food Institute, Blue Horizon, and Material Innovation Initiative, Synonym have launched Capacitor (www.capacitor.bio), the first free database of global fermentation capacity. We built Capacitor for synthetic biology companies to find fermentation production capacity to grow and accelerate commercialization.
If you’re looking for microbial fermentation capacity, we encourage you to visit capacitor.bio!
Q: Precision or microbial fermentation is a rapidly evolving approach in the alt protein space - what are the advantages of biomanufacturing?
Joshua: Biomanufacturing, and more specifically microbial fermentation, offers many advantages to manufacturers and the planet. Biology is the key to unlocking better and more efficient products for society, including alternative proteins), fuel, medicines, materials, and more. Biomanufacturing will not only improve the products we currently have but also drive substantial societal and climate impact. As biology becomes a default mode of production, it will help drive decarbonization because products manufactured via fermentation use much less water and energy than products made via chemical synthesis or animal agriculture. Biomanufacturing advantages also include slowing biodiversity loss, reducing air and water pollution, preserving natural resources, and producing food and goods for more people with fewer resources.
Q: What are the key difficulties encountered when trying to scale-up alt protein manufacturing by fermentation?
Joshua: One of the key difficulties companies encounter when scaling up alternative protein manufacturing by fermentation is the lack of production capacity, especially at the largest commercial scale. There are not currently enough fermentation tanks in the world to produce alternative proteins at a scale that drives their price down towards competing with commoditized animal-based proteins. We need to build a lot more tank space for these companies to achieve economies of scale necessary for competitive pricing and ubiquity that results in consumer acceptance. Additionally, companies face challenges scaling their technology across scales from lab scale to pilot scale to industrial scale-sized tanks. It’s usually wishful thinking for a company to jump from a 5L R&D vessel to a 1000L pilot tank and then to a 10,000L tank and expect the same results.
Q: How can Synonym, Inc. provide solutions for NPD teams?
Joshua: As we said above, initially, we are focused on financing, developing, and building commercial-scale fermentation capacity for companies that have established products and are ready for wide-scale consumer adoption. We realize there are many earlier-stage fermentation companies that have smaller-scale production needs, and we plan to address this segment as well over time.
In fact, today, we launched Capacitor, a powerful, free database of global microbial fermentation. We teamed up with The Good Food Institute, Blue Horizon, and Material Innovation Initiative to build the tool specifically for fermentation companies to find production capacity of all scales - lab, demo, pilot, and commercial. There are currently over 100 facilities listed on the platform, and this is a great tool for earlier-stage companies to use to find global smaller-scale capacity options.
Q: Can you share how Synonym, Inc. will facilitate a faster go-to-market?
Joshua: While we’re just starting development of our first facility, our ultimate goal is to create a network of fermentation capacity (that we refer to as “fermentation farms”) to serve the entire industry. The more experience we have in developing, financing, and building facilities, the more streamlined our process will become. Instead of having to completely redesign for a new process every time, we’ll be able to decrease project timelines because of the standardization that we’ve built into our product and process. We believe that we can slash project timelines by several months, which means our customers can utilize the capacity and start selling their bioproducts sooner. For the synbio community, the inability to produce products at a sufficient scale to reduce cost is the main hindrance to wide-scale market adoption. We hope to allow companies to produce faster and more cheaply.
Q: What makes Synonym uniquely placed to be an integral part of the emerging biomanufacturing ecosystem?
Joshua: Synonym is the first company to focus exclusively on biomanufacturing financing and development at a commercial scale. We have built a team focused solely on executing our vision to see these facilities become true asset classes in their own right. This means hiring a team not only of engineers, scientists, and designers but project finance experts too.
Q: How might a Startup or SME find a suitable manufacturing plant complete with the processing equipment they need to facilitate scale-up of their product?
Joshua: An early stage fermentation company can use Capacitor to find suitable manufacturing capacity and equipment to scale its production. Capacitor is the first free, open-access database of global fermentation capacity. We built Capacitor in collaboration with The Good Food Institute, Blue Horizon and Material Innovation Initiative specifically to help synthetic biology companies find fermentation production capacity of all sizes, helping them to grow and accelerate commercialization of alternative proteins and other game-changing bioproducts.
Capacitor, which currently has over 100 facilities listed, enables companies to find the resources they need to scale based on their production specifications such as location, feedstock, bioreactor size, product expertise and bioprocess technology. Users can refine their search and browse facilities on an interactive map of the world and contact facilities that match their needs.
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Date Published: 2nd November 2022
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