Our Accelerated Strain Advancement Platform (ASAP™) is a powerful specialty ingredient development platform that combines (1) the precision of the Cibus suite of gene-editing technologies, the Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS™) with (2) our advanced fermentation and pilot scale facilities and experience, and (3) our proprietary downstream and purification processes, to position us as leaders in the efficient development and delivery of high-value, performance-focused, non-transgenic specialty ingredients for our partners in the nutrition, personal care, flavor and fragrance markets, and for future applications in Ag biologicals, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API’s), human health and animal health.
We have demonstrated the unique versatility and speed of ASAP with our proprietary yeast system in the development and production of two highly valued nutritional products – ergosterol and vitamin D2. Our first product, ergosterol, is the key intermediate in the production of vitamin D2, which serves as a supplement to prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency. Ergosterol is planned to launch in 2019 through a collaboration with Fermic S.A. de C.V. (“Fermic”), a Mexican company with world class fermentation and downstream manufacturing equipment and processing expertise.
Our strain engineering and development process begins with leveraging the Cibus proprietary portfolio of precision gene-editing technologies, RTDS. This basket of technologies, coupled with our expanding bioinformatics capabilities, provides us with a unique ability to efficiently identify and make non-transgenic changes to develop and optimize commercially viable strains. These novel technologies are also versatile in their applicability to any desired microbial production platform, including a wide variety of yeast, bacteria, and algae. The initial microbial platform we chose to pursue to validate ASAP and develop our initial products was the oleaginous yeast, Yarrowia lipolytica, due to its efficiency and flexibilty with regards to low cost sustainable feedstock inputs and resulting high value product outputs.
We have invested significantly in building up our fermentation development and production scale-up capabilities in San Diego with the construction of both lab and pilot-scale fermentation infrastructure. Our advanced fermentation expertise consists of an experienced team of engineers who work closely with our bioinformatic, microbial, and analytical teams to develop the optimal production conditions at small scale through larger pilot-scale systems.
In addition to a wide array of small, benchtop bioreactors, our state of the art, customized fermentation facility currently houses two 200-liter bioreactors and the associated tankage, phase separation and service equipment. These fermentors were designed to allow us to scale to commercial product volumes quickly and efficiently and can be run in a variety of modes including, batch, fed-batch, and continuous, depending on the production needs.
Along with our pilot scale fermentation capacity, we have comparable solvent-capable downstream and purification capabilities. Our ability to develop downstream extraction and purification techniques at the lab bench, and then scale those techniques to pilot volumes, allows for greater control and testing of the product development process. This creates a seamless development cycle from early genetic optimization through isolation and purification of the final product.
Our robust and sustainable Accelerated Strain Advancement Platform (ASAP), led by an exceptional team of geneticists, engineers and chemists, allows us to consistently and efficiently develop and deliver the highest quality, fermentation-based specialty ingredient solutions for both ourselves and our customers. This key differentiator underpins the Nucelis advantage and enables us to consistently deliver specialty ingredients at purity and performance levels comparable or superior to all other sources on the market.