With the partnership, Ginkgo Bioworks will help Vivici design “micro-organisms that can then express proteins through fermentation," leveraging Ginkgo Bioworks' Protein Production Services and generative AI platform, Strehlow said.
"We are thrilled to collaborate with Ginkgo. Ginkgo's scale and AI-driven approach to designing strains for protein expression is a differentiated offering. We are confident in Ginkgo's capabilities to provide efficient, scalable strains that can support Vivici's speed to market," Stephan van Sint Fiet, CEO at Vivici, shared in a press release.
Can biotech help the dairy industry become more sustainable?
This news follows similar announcements, including Ginkgo's recent partnerships with Foremost Farms and QL AG, as all three organizations look to boost the sustainability of the dairy industry. With biotechnology, dairy producers can create products that use fewer resources like land and water to produce over traditional methods, Strehlow said.
"Consumers are starting to learn about how much water it takes to generate a gallon of milk, ... and how much time it takes to feed the animal to get it to produce that much volume, and then the land itself and what the animal eats grown on the land,” Strehlow said. “The whole concept of sustainability and being more sustainably sourced... I think that's exactly what Vivici is focused on."
In addition to slumping sales among several key categories including milk, the dairy market has been challenged by plant-based alternatives that have come onto the market, which also boast sustainability benefits. However, dairy proteins created through precision fermentation can provide taste parity to animal-based milks, Strehlow claimed.
“[Plant-based dairies] might be pretty good, ... but it's nowhere near going to replace the exact same taste or functional properties as an ingredient, Strehlow said. “[Vivici is] offering these [ingredients], and it's going to be precision fermentation [and] will be the exact same molecule as the cow... I think it could be a real game-changer, especially on the taste front being nature identical.”
As more biotech dairy ingredient's and products come to market, consumers will also have more options available that might tap into specific functionality or other demands, she noted.
“Alternate dairy proteins from fermentation [are] just another potential incremental business opportunity that we can offer consumers, and maybe it won't be as big as dairy proteins, per se, but again, it's an incremental offering that may appeal to some.”