Avant fish burgers made with cell-cultured meat. Photo: Avant.

Cell-cultured fish producer scaling up in Singapore

Avant, a start-up company producing fish and seafood products by growing them from cells, has announced the opening of a new production facility in Singapore.

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The Hong Kong-based firm, which raised $3.1 million (£2.3m) in a seed funding round last December, will establish a research laboratory for cultivated fish bioprocessing in collaboration with Singapore’s Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR) Bioprocessing Technology Institute.

Avant says the research collaboration will advance the scale-up of its proprietary process to enable cost-effective, food-grade production of cell-cultured fish.

Carrie Chan: "The collaboration will accelerate breakthroughs in methods to optimise cell cultivation process for meat production." Photo: LinkedIn.

Cost reduction

The company’s co-founder and chief executive, Carrie Chan, said: “Building on the existing experiences of Avant’s in fish cell cultivation and A*STAR’s expertise in bioprocessing, the collaboration will accelerate breakthroughs in methods to optimise cell cultivation process for meat production. It will achieve process efficiency and cost reduction initially for fish cells. We expect to gain insights into methodologies that can potentially be applied in other cell types as well.”

Strategic partner

In January, Avant a strategic partnership with Vietnam’s Vinh Hoan Corporation (VHC), the world’s largest producer of pangasius. Chief executive Tam Nguyen said Avant offered VHC “a unique opportunity for us to diversify our future product portfolio to offer additional choices to address emerging consumer needs and trends”.

Singapore is the first nation in the world to approve the sale of cell-cultured meat and is at the centre of cell-cultured meat R&D, although countries such as the United States and Qatar are also moving towards approval.

A report published by alternative proteins advocate the Good Food Institute (GFI) in March identified 23 new cell-cultured meat companies launching in 2020, with $366 million raised in the same period, six times the amount raised in 2019 and 72% of the amount raised in the industry’s short history (2016-2020).