Could ProFuse Technology’s small molecule cocktail help to transform the economics of cultivated meat?

While there are many ways to improve the unit economics of cultivated meat, from reducing the cost of producing expensive growth factors used in cell culture media, to exploring ways to recycle media, to developing more efficient cell lines; ProFuse Technologyis addressing the process of skeletal muscle tissue formation (myogenesis) such that firms can produce more meat, more quickly.

Speeding up the skeletal muscle formation process

Phase one of the myogenesis process begins with rapid cell division and multiplication (the proliferation phase) of myoblasts (muscle stem cells) in a nutrient-rich media.

In the second phase (the differentiation phase), the myoblasts stop dividing and start to differentiate by fusing to form nascent myotubes (developing muscle fibers with a tubular appearance). Next, in a secondary fusion stage, these small myotubes start fusing with myoblasts to form bigger myotubes, which finally mature into muscle fibers (the maturation phase).

‘We’ve found a way to enhance the signaling process so that it happens bigger and better’

Typically, to move from the proliferation phase to the differentiation phase, companies will reduce the growth factors in the media and the cells will stop dividing in this ‘depleted’ or ‘reduced’ media and gradually start to differentiate and mature.

Depending on the species, this differentiation and maturation phase can take days or even weeks, and is not always super-efficient, in that only a certain percentage of myoblasts will fuse to form muscle fibers in any given production cycle, says ProFuse Technology, which was formed last summer to apply science developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science

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