Exclusive interview with the Cellular Agriculture Division at Lifecycle Biotechnologies

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Lifecycle Biotechnologies is a leading ‘life sciences’ tools and service supplier based in Texas. Through its new Cellular Agriculture Division, Lifecycle Biotechnologies focuses its resources on clean meat, produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells. The new division aims to support the evolving and rapidly growing needs of the companies in these industries. We recently had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Lifecycle Biotechnologies’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Aaron Schieving.

What drives the managers at Lifecycle Biotechnologies to run a purpose-driven Cellular Agriculture Division in Texas?

Lifecycle Biotechnologies is a proud Texas-based company, and we find purpose in that we help save lives, we help fight disease, we help feed the world; it is in our DNA. Our focus is worldwide, and we see ourselves as not just serving our local or national communities but the planet as a whole. It’s this mindset that drives us to ask questions about what we can be doing better, and why we would have started this division no matter where we are based.

What kind of framework has Lifecycle Biotechnologies adopted or developed to help build a purpose-driven organisation?

Everything we do is driven by our purpose. We are a group of passionate, admired, and committed individuals with a deep desire to be relevant in the life sciences. This desire has led us to become the beginning of the lifecycle of the lifesaving and life-enhancing pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biologics, cell- and tissue-based products, and many other medical products. This purpose is also our goal for cellular agriculture.

Lifecycle Biotechnologies is a supplier of the components cellular agriculture companies use when manufacturing their products. How does Lifecycle Biotechnologies support these various manufacturers?

We support these manufacturers with media for growing the cells and with custom media formulations optimised to fit the exact ratios of the metabolic needs of precise cell line and production platform. We support these manufacturers with scaffolding made from a unique natural, editable, and biodegradable protein source that is porous and sponge-like to support cell seeding and migration. And we also support these manufacturers with a fetal bovine serum (FBS) reducer that allows for less of this expensive and controversial animal-derived serum to be used as the industry continues to move towards animal-free ingredients.

What short-term plans and long-term goals does the Cellular Agriculture Division have in store for Lifecycle Biotechnologies?

Our short-term plans include continuing to work with groups like the Good Food Institute and New Harvest as well as the innovative manufacturers to help evolve the industry and to utilise the recent momentum and public awareness/appreciation to catapult the technology being used to the next level. We plan to develop and evolve products and components to offer products designed for cellular agriculture.

When it comes to long-term plans, the sky is the limit. Whether this would include establishing a Lifecycle differentiation cell bank, developing biological shipping containers designed for shipping cellular agriculture products, or establishing protein drying capabilities to support the industry; only time will tell what the exact needs will be as the industry continues to scale up its existing technologies. Whatever form that may take, we are committed to being an industry thought leader and the preferred supplier to the cellular agriculture industry.

For the team members working in the Cellular Agriculture Division, which people, leaders, thinkers, or entrepreneurs are an inspiration?

With some of the world’s greatest minds of today such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with Richard Branson, Suzy Welch, Cargill, Tyson Foods, and many more focusing their attention and investments into cellular agriculture, there is inspiration abound. Add in the great work the Good Food Institute and New Harvest are doing to help guide and focus the industry, or individuals like Paul Shapiro and his Clean Meat book, or the many energising and insightful blogs - not to mention the innovative, world-altering work happening at the actual cellular agriculture manufacturers - makes for a very exciting and inspirational time.

Who would Lifecycle Biotechnologies like to collaborate with and why?

Ultimately, we want to collaborate with everyone. We want to take our biologic manufacturing experience - our years of chemical, reagent, and media manufacturing experience; our team of highly educated chemists, engineers, biologists and other scientists; our Product Development Scientist with a background in biochemical engineering with an emphases in cell biology, combined with our regenerative medicine experience; our scaffolding expertise; our current food and beverage customer base; our decades of experience with both FDA and USDA - and offer it to everyone in this industry.

We want to take a personalised approach and focus on understanding each customer’s specific needs to provide disruptive solutions that challenge conventional thinking; we want to customise products and processes to meet customers’ specifications. Whether this pertains to cell-based meat, plant-based meat, eggs or dairy, we want to collaborate and help change the world.

How does Lifecycle Biotechnologies see the clean meat and seafood-substitute industry changing in the future?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual letter (2012) stated: “Innovation is the key to improving the world. When innovators work on urgent problems and deliver solutions to people in need, the results can be magical.” The companies in the cellular agriculture industry are and will accomplish great things and bring about positive change. We are at a point where we can change how the world eats, which would bring with it countless health benefits to consumers, serve a significant role in better feeding the world, make meat available to those across all income levels, greatly reduce greenhouse emissions, and bring an end to animal farming and slaughter.

At Lifecycle, we provide essential and innovative products that are evolved by passionate people to companies improving the world. We are committed to utilising our 40 plus years of experience in the closely related life sciences and regenerative medicine industries to support the cellular agriculture industry to obtain these magical results. Whether this is through our current media, bioreactors, scaffolding, cell lines, media optimisation system, and supply chain support capabilities, or by innovating alongside the industry.

Lifecycle will be at the upcoming New Harvest 2019 Conference for Cellular Agriculture in Boston on 19-20 July 2019. For anyone with a concept looking for support or to collaborate with an established company like ours to take advantage of our existing infrastructure and expertise, we hope you will let us know so we can meet and innovate together.

We look forward to seeing the future of cellular agriculture shape our world. Thanks for taking the time to share your insights with us, Aaron!

If you are looking to collaborate with Lifecycle Biotechnologies or want to learn more about the Cellular Agriculture Division, or the other industries they serve, contact the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Aaron Schieving, at aschieving@lifecyclebio.com.