Synthetic bio development startup Solar Biotech will expand its partnership with Motif FoodWorks, a US food-tech company.
The renewed partnership will allow Motif to develop new food technologies that improve the taste, texture, and nutrition of alternative dairy and plant-based foods. It will continue the partnership that began in 2020 when Solar Biotech supported Motif FoodWorks’ efforts to increase production capacity.
“The continuation of our partnership will help secure the infrastructure needed to build out Motif’s pipeline of future products,” said Jonathan McIntyre, CEO of Motif FoodWorks. “Companies like Solar Biotech are an essential link in the move to create a more sustainable food supply chain that has a positive impact on people, animals, and the planet.”
“This is the culmination of nearly two years of joint product development work with Motif,” enthuses Dr. Alex Berlin, CEO, and CTO of Solar Biotech. We look forward to working with Motif as they continue to use precision fermentation to continue to push the envelope of what’s possible in plant-based foods.”
Using Solar Biotech’s precision fermentation capabilities, Motif FoodWorks was able to develop HEMAMI, a cell-based protein. Launched last month, this is a heme protein ingredient derived from yeast rather than animals. Heme proteins bind iron and oxygen to give meat its unique taste that is difficult to replicate using plants. Motif’s animal-free heme, manufactured using precision fermentation technology, is indistinguishable from the compound found in animal-derived beef. It can add umami flavour and meaty aroma to plant-based meat. It has received a ‘Generally Recognized as Safe’ assessment from the FDA.
Motif FoodWorks was founded in 2019 and is based in Boston. 2021 saw massive growth for Motif thanks to its $226 million in Series B funding. The company is set to open a new 65, 000 square foot R&D centre and pilot-scale production facility for HEMAMI.
Solar Biotech was also founded in 2019 and is based in Norton, Virginia. It provides contract technology development and manufacturing services to industrial biotechnology partners.