The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is awarding $3,159,379 to two foodtech projects that are creating resiliency within Canada’s food sector through cellular food innovation. The projects are valued at more than $6 million and are funded through the organization’s Food Innovation Challenge Program. The Food Innovation Challenge funding recipients are:
Project Lead: Myo Palate (Ontario)
Project Title: Scaling Cultivated Pork Production Using Embryonic Stem Cells Project Partners: Getinge Canada Ltd.
Myo Palate has addressed a production challenge within the cultivated meat sector. By harnessing pig embryonic stem cells (ESCs), known for their perpetual vitality, the Ontario-based foodtech company has overcome the obstacle of muscle cell maturation. This innovation ensures sustained muscle fiber development, as these ESCs and their offspring are cultivated without encountering cellular fatigue.
Collaborating with researchers from the University of Toronto, Myo Palate is now applying established machine learning algorithms to refine cell growth conditions, solidifying the effectiveness of this approach. With a biological framework in place, the partnership between Myo Palate and Getinge Canada will engineer a bespoke bioreactor process, poised to facilitate large-scale cultivated pork manufacturing.
Project Lead: The Verschuren Centre Inc. (Nova Scotia) Project
Title: Automation and Digital Twin Integration for Precision Fermentation Scale Up of Cell-Based Food Ingredients Project Partners: Liven Proteins, NovoBind Livestock Therapeutics, Material Futures Lab, Dispersa, and Mara Renewables
The Verschuren Centre is collaborating with technology SMEs to harness synthetic biology for advancing cell-based food solutions through precision fermentation. These SMEs specialize in producing essential food molecules such as flavors, binders, pigments, proteins, oils and polymers from natural sources. The Verschuren Centre's endeavor involves constructing a unique 10,000L precision fermentation facility—which will be the first of its kind in Canada—to facilitate seamless progression for companies from pilot to commercial production.
This capacity-building effort offers accessible open access, expediting process scaling and product purification for food manufacturers. By integrating automation, digital twin technology and machine learning, the initiative focuses on optimizing two facets: swift fermentation process enhancement and maximized efficiency in material inputs. This approach empowers companies to streamline their market entry, reduce costs and establish a resilient Canadian supply chain.
This funding call targeted collaborative proposals focused on the development of cellular food products or supporting technology. A 2021 report from Ontario Genomics identified cellular food as a potential $12.5 billion opportunity for Canada if the capacity and infrastructure can be built that’s required to biomanufacture animal proteins, flavors and other foods.
Since launching in 2021, CFIN has received more than 300 funding applications from companies across the country and has approved $13.5 million in funding to 50 projects.
"Funding and supporting cellular food innovation is a critical stride towards sustainable nourishment, bridging the gap between growing demand and limited resources. These two projects are prime examples of how Canada is spearheading a new era of food innovation on the world stage, showcasing how collaboration, novel ideas, and responsible science can redefine how we sustainably feed our growing global population,” says Dana McCauley CEO, Canadian Food Innovation Network.