New Harvest is opening a lab in Paris, France in fall 2016!
The lab will be an IP-free space to conduct neglected foundational and pre-competitive research in cellular agriculture. It will be housed at La Paillasse, an open research lab in the middle of the city.
Our first task is to create the "starter cultures" of cows, pigs, chicken, tuna, and salmon, so researchers around the world can easily engage in cultured meat research.
Around the world, there are hundreds of scientists who have the passion and expertise for doing research in cellular agriculture, but do not have the resources to proceed. Those resources are a) adequate research funding, and b) the right research tools.
Through our Seed Grant and Fellowship Programs, we are addressing a). Through New Harvest Labs, we are addressing b).
What are the right research tools? Starter cultures.
A researcher who wants to do cultured meat work needs to have the right cell cultures. Today, that researcher would have to visit a slaughterhouse, then spend several months establishing their cell culture. The lack of such tools constitutes a huge barrier to entry and a research bottleneck.
By contrast, if that researcher wanted to do cancer or human stem cell research, they would simply order their cultures from a catalog.
That's where New Harvest comes in.
The New Harvest Lab's primary goal is to create the starter cultures for making animal products without animals.
All IP generated at the New Harvest Lab will be open licensed and published in open access journals, with the goal of opening up the field of cellular agriculture. This is thanks to help from The Shuttleworth Foundation, a supporter of the lab and New Harvest's work.
New Harvest Labs will be housed at La Paillasse, a well-known open research laboratory and community space for science in the center of Paris. The facility will be in a cave retrofitted for laboratory work. It will have tissue culture capabilities, and space for more researchers and interns.
La Paillasse is a non-profit organization focused on creating a novel environment, experience, and community in which public science can take place.
The New Harvest Lab's overarching strategy is to:
- Create the basic research building blocks for cellular agriculture, in order to
- Create a critical mass in the research community
The first phase of research is the creation of suitable cellular materials and other basic research building blocks. These materials will be made available to researchers around the world inexpensively through a partnership with the 501(c)(3) American Tissue Culture Collection.
The second phase is establishing partnerships with laboratories around the world who are using the New Harvest Lab-produced cellular materials to ensure that the field of cellular agriculture moves forward with speed. We are initiating collaborations with universities, government agencies, and other foundations to dedicate more resources to cellular agriculture. Our goal is to create a solid foundation of research upon which companies can build.
We developed our strategy to solidify and streamline the research that is needed to develop foundational biotechnological tools for cellular agriculture research. This both advances the field of cellular agriculture and has the catalytic effect of creating business opportunities in the growing post-animal bioeconomy.
The New Harvest Lab is a huge step forward toward our goal of establishing a research infrastructure across both private and public sectors that will serve as the foundation for an ecosystem of innovation.
Research will be funded through philanthropic and industry partnerships and produce published, public data and shareable research and resources. Like the system in place for pharmaceutical R&D, pooling funds for discovery research will generate rapid innovation.
Starter Culture Bank
New Harvest's first project is to establish a cell bank for the starter cultures of cows, pigs, chickens, tuna, and salmon. These are crucial for any research to create cultured beef, pork, chicken, etc. Unlike in medical research, these cell lines can't currently be ordered from a catalogue.
Our cell bank will open up the possibility for other researchers to acquire relevant cell lines from animals and use these to optimize and discover the next stage of innovations.
These innovations include:
- A sustainable growth medium that is an alternative to fetal bovine serum
- Developing scaling technologies
- Designing scaffold materials
- Creating 3D tissue systems
All of these innovations are dependent on the cell lines, which is why the cell bank is our first priority.
In developing cell lines, we will optimize these characteristics for cellular agriculture applications:
- Immortality (unlimited proliferation)
- Surface independent
- Adapted to defined or serum-free conditions
- Tissue forming
- Enhanced growth cycle
We will collect a number of different cell types (muscle, skin, connective tissue) from a variety of species. While we are starting with cows, pigs, chicken, tuna, and salmon, we hope to create cell lines from even non-traditionally farmed species (e.g. octopus). This is in line with our goal of not just replicating existing industries but creating a novel post-animal bioeconomy through cellular agriculture.
These starter cultures will be characterized for genetic stability and passage number and accessible for everyone wishing to do further research.