GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of Eat Just, Inc., signed an exclusive multi-year agreement with ABEC, Inc. to design, manufacture, install and commission the largest known bioreactors for avian and mammalian cell culture. GOOD Meat applies cutting-edge science and technology on a mission to create healthier, more sustainable foods, including cultivated 3D printable meat products, while ABEC has the largest capacity in the biotech industry, with a long history of bioprocess equipment innovation,
Ten 250,000-liter bioreactors will form the foundation for GOOD Meat’s large-scale cultivated meat facility, which will be located in the United States. When fully operational, the complex will have the capacity to produce up to 30 million pounds of meat without the need to slaughter a single animal.
“We are proud that our capabilities will help enable this exciting new industry. We look forward to continuing our tradition of innovation and supporting GOOD Meat’s success,” said Scott Pickering, CEO and Chairperson of ABEC.
The company’s process begins by sourcing the best cells from the best chickens and cows. These cells are then painlessly extracted from an egg or living animal. They are examined and the ones most likely to produce the healthiest, tastiest and most sustainable meat are selected. GOOD Meat sources fat, muscle and other tissue cells that they can culture and use in the final product.
At this point, the cells are “immortalized,” meaning they can continue to divide and produce GOOD Meat indefinitely. The process unfolds in a bioreactor or “cultivator” — a vessel similar to a beer fermenting tank. The cultivator provides the energy and warmth needed for growth. Inside the bioreactor, the cells are immersed in a “growth medium,” nutrients similar to what an animal would feed itself– amino acids, fats and vitamins. There’s no confinement, antibiotics, growth hormones or GMOs.
The coolest part is that 3D printing is one of the most relevant means of production. GOOD Meat takes the harvested cells and creates the 3D printable meat end product, using both molding and digital additive manufacturing. The product is subject to rigorous safety and regulatory review. They can grow the cells on a natural scaffolding (which can also be 3D printed to achieve more complex geometries) so, as they divide, they grow into the desired shape and texture. In particular, GOOD Meat is using 3D printing to build cultivated meat cells into more familiar meat shapes.
The facility will initially produce both chicken and beef, and with the planned capacity, will be able to distribute products to millions of customers across the United States. GOOD Meat is planning to finalize site selection in the next three months and is continuing to engage with the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture on a regulatory pathway to market.
ABEC is also designing and manufacturing bioreactors for GOOD Meat’s Alameda, Calif. headquarters, scheduled to be operational in Q4 2022, and for a Singapore facility slated to open in Q1 2023. The Singapore buildout will help meet growing consumer demand for GOOD Meat’s products, which have been available for purchase there since December 2020. GOOD Meat remains the only cultivated meat manufacturer in the world to secure regulatory approval.
“Our first step was receiving regulatory approval and launching in Singapore. Our second step has been selling to customers through restaurants, street vendors and delivery platforms. We’ve learned that consumers want this, and we’re ready to take the next step to make this happen a commercial scale. I am very proud to partner with the ABEC team to make this historic facility happen,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just.
With North American manufacturing facilities in Springfield, Mo., and Bethlehem, Pa., ABEC has been a bioreactor technology leader through much of the biotech era. The company developed the first production-scale bioreactors in the 1980s and the first bioreactors larger than 10,000 liters in the 1990s.