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Dairy innovation: Imagindairy & Ginkgo collaborate

Imagindairy and Ginkgo Bioworks collaborate to develop and produce animal-free non-whey dairy proteins. (Image source: Ginkgo Bioworks)

Imagindairy, an Israeli-based foodtech company dedicated to revolutionising the dairy industry with sustainable and commercially viable animal-free dairy proteins, has joined forces with Ginkgo Bioworks, a leader in cell programming and biosecurity, in an exciting new partnership 

Together, they aim to create a global solution for the production of animal-free non-whey dairy proteins in a highly efficient manner. This collaboration will harness the power of Ginkgo's Protein Expression Services alongside Imagindairy's expertise in process development and scale-up, accelerating the advancement of functional non-whey dairy proteins. The partnership, funded in part by a joint grant from the Board of Governors of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, is set to span multiple years.

Imagindairy envisions a groundbreaking shift in the dairy industry, one that preserves the essence of dairy products – their flavor, functionality, and overall experience – without the need for traditional animal sources. Leveraging its proprietary AI platform and precision fermentation techniques, Imagindairy utilises microorganisms to produce sustainable and scalable dairy proteins, maintaining quality, taste, and nutritional value. With access to its own fully operational production lines, Imagindairy is poised to deliver cost-effective dairy proteins at scale, a milestone unmatched in the industry.

The collaboration between Imagindairy and Ginkgo aims to design an optimised organism capable of efficiently producing non-whey dairy proteins at a reduced cost. This strategic move enables Imagindairy to concentrate on whey protein production and commercialisation while expediting the introduction of non-whey proteins to the market. Ginkgo will leverage its AI capabilities and high-throughput Foundry technologies to engineer biological systems for enhanced production efficiency and functionality. Subsequently, Imagindairy will spearhead the development of the production process, overseeing scale-up and manufacturing operations. This joint effort signifies a significant stride toward Imagindairy's mission of offering a comprehensive range of high-quality, animal-free dairy proteins to food producers worldwide.

Jennifer Wipf, chief commercial officer at Ginkgo Bioworks, "Ginkgo has firmly established itself in the alternative dairy and food proteins industry, showcasing our leadership in protein and organism engineering. We have many successful collaborations in this space, and we're thrilled to get to work with Imagindairy on this innovative and market relevant project. We're also honored to be recognized by the BIRD Foundation. Being awarded this highly competitive grant is a testament to our technical expertise and ability to accomplish this project with Imagindairy. I can speak for the entire team when I say that the samples that Imagindairy have shared are absolutely next-level. If the rest of their pipeline is anything like what we've tasted, we can't wait to try what's next."

Eyal Afergan, co-founder and CEO at Imagindairy, remarked, "We're proud of this acknowledgment by the BIRD Foundation, as it highlights the importance of further innovation in the alternative proteins field, and our capability to successfully execute this project. Our process development capabilities and industrial-scale precision fermentation lines will allow us to rapidly scale the optimized strains created with Ginkgo and bring innovative non-whey proteins to the market faster. We're deeply impressed by Ginkgo's work in the foodtech industry and look forward to collaborating with them on the project. We're confident this collaboration will unlock further product offerings, providing consumers with additional animal-free dairy delights that match the cost and taste of traditional dairy, making significant contributions to the industry, consumers, and the world."