Biotech, biofuel collaboration to create commercial-scale fermentation process
April 24, 2018 - KnipBio, Inc. and ICM, Inc. announced on Tuesday that the companies have entered into a joint development agreement (JDA) and strategic collaboration to create a commercial-scale fermentation process for KnipBio’s premium single cell protein (SCP) aquafeed, KnipBio Meal (KBM).
The companies will explore new fermentation processes using ethanol and ethanol production process co-products. ICM, Inc. will also provide process engineering and construction plans for commercial exploitation of KnipBio’s biotechnology research. In conjunction with the JDA, ICM is making a significant resource and financial investment in KnipBio and will have representation on the company’s board of directors.
“ICM is a great strategic fit for us. They have demonstrated their unrivaled knowledge and ability as the world’s leading fermentation process engineering firm,” said Larry Feinberg, CEO of KnipBio. “Their expertise will be invaluable as we move towards commercial production. We are thrilled to call them our collaborator. Bringing together ICM’s best-in-class fermentation know-how and KnipBio’s innovative biotechnology will allow us to dramatically accelerate our commercial plans.”
“The strategic rationale for investing and working with KnipBio is clear — aquaculture needs new sources of traceable, sustainable, and resource-efficient protein,” said Steve Hartig, ICM’s vice-president of technology development. “We believe KnipBio’s premium single cell protein technology could play a central role in meeting this need. Alternative proteins for aquaculture will be a multi-billion-dollar market and this process enables the U.S. ethanol industry new opportunities for growth.”
“ICM recognizes the opportunity of the alternative protein market and its importance for the future of ethanol,” Feinberg added. “ICM also sees the potential of KnipBio’s PROTEINplus product strategy. Their investment represents a validation of the research we have conducted over the past three years.”
Work on the JDA will be conducted at KnipBio’s research center in Lowell, Mass., and at ICM’s state-of- the-art research facility and pilot plant in St. Joseph, Miss. The research and development will focus on scaling up fermentation, improving production economics, optimizing unique processes for different SCP products, and testing the viability of using ethanol-related streams as a fermentation feedstock. The JDA is expected to last for approximately one year.