ICM invests in alternative aquafeed firm KnipBio

Published on
April 25, 2018

Biotechnology company KnipBio announced on 23 April that it has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with ICM Inc. in order to scale up production of their product KnipBio Meal. 

KnipBio announced that it hopes the partnership will allow it to increase production of it KnipBio Meal product – a single-cell protein meal product used as an aquaculture feed ingredient. ICM’s expertise in bio-refining technology and fermentation will allow the product to move out of the R&D stage and into full commercial production. 

“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,” KnipBio CEO Larry Feinberg said. “Their expertise will be invaluable as we move towards commercial production. We are thrilled to call them our collaborator.”

Feinberg added that the investment “represents a validation of the research we have conducted over the past three years.”

KnipBio’s “Knipbio Meal” product combines immunonutrients with single-cell protein in order to create sustainable feedstocks for aquaculture.

“ICM recognizes the opportunity of the alternative protein market and its importance for the future of ethanol. ICM also sees the potential of KnipBio’s PROTEINplus product strategy,” Feinberg said. 

ICM said the partnership will be mutually beneficial as the aquaculture industry begins to require alternative foodsources. 

“The strategic rationale for investing and working with KnipBio is clear - aquaculture needs new sources of traceable, sustainable, and resource-efficient protein,” ICM Vice President of Technology Development Steve Hartig said. “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.”

Feinberg told the Global Aquaculture Alliance that the partnership allows KnipBio to move forward with production without having to go through the steps of recreating the equipment that ICM already utilizes. 

“They have an amazing ‘shop,’ it’s like being a kid in a candy store for a microbiologist like me! Their processing equipment, pre-commercial scale large reactors, analytical equipment different-sized bioreactors, and talented personnel will more than meet our needs for the commercial development of our products,” Feinberg said to GAA. “If I were to reconstruct this, it would cost many tens of millions of dollars. There’s a long track record of companies trying to do everything on their own. And in doing so, there’s often such a high level of risk that there’s near certainty of failure. Leveraging ICM’s knowledge, expertise, equipment and resources to address and attack one of the things that we need to prove – scaling up – gives us better odds of success.”

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