Ontario Genomics has partnered with The Cultivated B. to drive the growth of Ontario’s cellular agriculture industry and support talent development.

Driving the Growth of Ontario’s Cellular Agriculture Industry

Since 2019, Ontario Genomics has been driving the growth of the cellular agriculture community in Ontario and Canada. In October 2022, Ontario Genomics signed a memorandum of understanding and our partnership with The Cultivated B (TCB), a European bioengineering company, to drive forward a shared vision of developing the cellular agriculture ecosystem within Ontario and Canada. 

This announcement coincided with TCB’s news of their expansion in operations to Canada, opening their 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and Canadian headquarters in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Ontario Genomics partnered with TCB on the creation of an innovation hub, with ~ 20,000 square feet of the facility dedicated to providing clients, including academics institutes, biotechnology companies including start-ups, small and medium businesses, with access to laboratory space, bioreactors and mentorship to test and scale up their products. Enabling access to this specialized infrastructure is necessary to help shape the cellular agriculture and biomanufacturing industry landscape within Ontario and Canada, accelerate research towards scalable testing and product development, and take advantage of this rapidly moving high-potential market, as called out in Ontario Genomics 2021 report, below.    

In November 2021, Ontario Genomics and our partners released the Cellular Agriculture – Canada’s $12.5 Billion Opportunity in Food Innovation report, which caught the attention of TCB, featuring extensive stakeholder input and economic analysis, and suggests a Canadian economic opportunity as high as $12.5 billion/year with the creation of up to 142,000 jobs. 

As a new food production system, it presents an alternative and compelling route to produce ingredients (e.g., proteins, flavour, pigments, fats), and other food products (dairy, eggs, chocolate, honey), or cultivated products (meat, seafood, foie gras, pet food) in a sustainable way, complementary to traditional products methods. However, biomanufacturing technologies and techniques used in cellular agriculture have applications for various products and sectors, and non-food products including cosmetics, textiles such as leather, wool, silk and cotton, or applications in the health sectors (vaccines etc.).     

The report provides critical considerations for Canada’s emerging cellular agriculture industry and identifies three interconnected actionable opportunities for Canada to achieve these benefits and capitalize on this rapidly expanding and high-potential global market in food innovation. The third recommendation – Provide Supporting Mechanisms for Research and Commercial Development – called out the need for incentivization, and public and private investment and partnerships and infrastructure support for research and development, training, company creation, scale-up and growth, being critical for a thriving domestic industry, and made-in-Canada product commercialization. 

Ontario Genomics’ partnership with TCB on a one-of-a-kind- innovation hub presents Canada with a leading opportunity to retain domestic companies, facilitate training of personnel, attract global investment and companies, and lead in this industry and field of cellular agriculture, thereby leading to a substantial return on investment and a $12.5 Billion, and 142,000 job opportunity in food innovation in cellular agriculture alone, and a multi-sector opportunity beyond that. 

New training programs that offer targeted and cross-disciplinary opportunities and industry placements related to cellular agriculture and engineering biology are critical. There are also opportunities to train and up-skill those with related expertise in other sectors. This would ensure that a domestic talent pipeline of skilled, High-Quality Personnel (HQP) could fill the high-quality jobs that the cellular agriculture industry and biomanufacturing more broadly will create.