How Can Protein Design Lower the Cost of Cultured Meat Production?
About the Session
Due to natural selection, proteins have evolved to play highly specific regulatory roles in the human body. However, we see that their specialization also makes them too sensitive and not capable of functioning efficiently in the industrial setup. Protein engineering is a tool that can improve the performance of proteins without harmful stabilizing agents or additives of any kind. It is based on the computational design of mutations within the protein sequence that improve its properties and that are calculated based on the molecules’ structure, energy or evolution. In cultured meat media, fetal bovine serum is now being replaced by various growth factors – FGFs, TGFs, PDGFs etc. These proteins have a low half-life, and low protease resistance and therefore quickly degrade in the media. We focus on protein engineering of growth factors to improve their performance in cultured meat media. Our first product is hyper stable FGF2 (FGF2-G3, FGF2-STAB®) that has a 50x longer half-life than native FGF2 (less frequent media changes required) and can be used in 5-20x lower concentration in the media. Our pipeline comprises multiple growth factors in development that will be engineered for better performance within the cultured meat media to lower its cost.
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