Aleph Farms Increases Production Capabilities with VBL Therapeutics Facility Acquisition and ESCO Aster Partnership
Efficient capital deployment in Israel and Singapore designed to support scale-up in key markets
REHOVOT, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--#COP26--Aleph Farms, the first company to grow cultivated steaks directly from non-modified cow cells, today announced that it has acquired a manufacturing facility in Modi’in, Israel, and certain related assets from biotechnology company VBL Therapeutics (Nasdaq: VBLT). In addition, Aleph Farms has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ESCO Aster, a vertically-integrated contract manufacturing organization, to produce cultivated meat in Singapore. These agreements stand to increase Aleph Farms’ production capabilities and global impact as the company approaches commercialization.
“Israel and Singapore are the first two markets where we intend to launch our cultivated thin-cut steak. Building up production capacity quickly in those locations while keeping capital investment lean provides a clear roadmap to scalability,” said Didier Toubia, CEO and co-founder of Aleph Farms. “Beyond Israel and Singapore, we plan on building additional strategic assets worldwide as part of our effort to bring more security and resilience to food systems.”
Existing assets from VBL will be paired with a smooth technology transfer from Aleph Farms' pilot production facility in Rehovot, Israel, to increase local output in response to rising demand for quality protein.
“Our state-of-the-art facility will enable Aleph Farms to unlock value and ramp up local production in an efficient manner,” added Dror Harats, MD, Chief Executive Officer of VBL. “We look forward to seeing the facility support Aleph Farms’ goals in the future.”
The signing of the MOU between Aleph Farms and ESCO Aster was witnessed by the Ambassador of Israel to Singapore, HE Sagi Karni, and the Non-Resident Ambassador of Singapore to Israel and Chairman of the Singapore Food Agency, HE Lim Chuan Poh, demonstrating the strong ties between the two countries. ESCO Aster is the world’s first and only company with full regulatory approval from a government authority (Singapore Food Agency), and with ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 certifications, to produce cultivated meat for commercial sales and consumption at the highest safety standards.
This MOU covers the use of ESCO Aster's manufacturing expertise in producing Aleph Farms’ cultivated meat in Singapore, helping the nation work towards its goal of “30 by 30” — the establishment of agri-food capabilities that can satisfy 30% of the island’s nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030. Such terms also position Singapore as a focal point for Aleph Farms’ future expansion in Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region.
“We are proud to be working with Aleph Farms to bring its cultivated steak to Singapore," said Xiangliang (XL) Lin, CEO of ESCO Aster and Deputy CEO of ESCO Lifesciences Group. "As part of our contract manufacturing MOU, we will work together with religious authorities on obtaining a halal certificate for our facility, enabling our collaboration with Aleph to expand to even more of the broader region."
Aleph Farms is working closely with regulatory agencies around the world as it prepares for the commercial launch of its first product, a cultivated thin-cut steak. The company also plans to produce different cuts of steak as well as other products based on animal cells, such as cultivated collagen, through additional proprietary capabilities. From a single fertilized egg, Aleph Farms can grow thousands of tons of cultivated meat, serving as part of a just and inclusive transition to sustainable and secure food systems.
About Aleph Farms
Aleph Farms grows cultivated steaks from cells that are isolated from a living cow and not immortalized or genetically modified, avoiding slaughter and achieving reduced environmental impact at scale. The company was co-founded in 2017 by Didier Toubia, The Kitchen Hub by Strauss Group, and Professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Its vision is to ensure unconditional nutrition for anyone, anytime, anywhere. For more information, follow Aleph Farms on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn or visit www.aleph-farms.com. Access the Aleph Farms press kit here.
About ESCO Aster
ESCO Aster Pte Ltd is a cGMP CRDMO (Contract Research, Development, and Manufacturing Organization) operating as an independent subsidiary of ESCO Lifesciences Group. The company provides process development (PD) and contract manufacturing (from upstream to downstream, formulation and filling), consultation, and clinical research services bridging the translation gap from bench to bedside.
About VBL Therapeutics
Vascular Biogenics Ltd., operating as VBL Therapeutics (Nasdaq: VBLT) is developing targeted therapies for immune-inflammatory diseases. VBL Therapeutics’ lead immunology product candidate, VB-601, is a targeted antibody for immune-inflammatory applications that has shown disease-modifying activity across multiple preclinical models including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. VBL Therapeutics has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Notable Labs, Inc., which merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023. To learn more about VBL Therapeutics, please visit vblrx.com.