New Microalgae application in the field of cell therapy and cultured meat

Raised awareness of animal welfare and increased safety regulation for cell therapy, animal-derived component-free (ADCF) additive from microalgae is successfully developed by Far East Bio-tech Co. Ltd (FEBICO) to fulfill this market unmet need.

Dr. Shawn Chen pointed out that Arthrospira sp., microalgae that is rich in protein, vitamins, and trace elements, is typically used as a superfood or a dietary supplement. Arthrospira sp. has many different biologically active substances and is scientifically widely studied and reported by many researchers about its anti-virus, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidation characteristics, now toward the field of cell therapy.

“To grow the cell in the lab, nutrient sources such as animal serum must be added”, said Dr. Shawn Chen. Animal serum itself is extracted from unborn fetal cow, therefore it’s very expensive due to its scarcity, however with animal welfare controversies.

The new material, named MSEP-01/MSEP-EX, is developed by FEBICO based on Arthrospira. A plant-based, animal derived component free (ADCF) cell culture additive that can be used in a variety of cells. MSEP-01 replaces up to 80% animal serum or 50% of human platelet lysate used during cell culture, and therefore greatly drive down the culture cost. This finding attracts the attention of relevant industry players and data will be published in the annual meeting of International Society for Cell and Gene therapy (ISCT) in May this year.

In addition, Professor Shan-hui Hsu of National Taiwan University conducted experiments using a single sulfated polysaccharide, known as SHWE-HSB, isolated and analyzed from Arthrospira by FEBICO in the biomedical materials laboratory. Professor Shan-hui Hsu confirmed that SHWE-HSB can make cells more adherent to the plastic petri dishes and thus easier to grow. Recently, Professor also published the experimental results in Molecules 2023. Dr. Shawn Chen explained that the advantages of SHWE-HSB is acid-resistant, alkali-resistant and heat-resistant, which is easier to work with than animal-derived collagen during cell culture. In addition to cell therapy studies, MSEP-01 is also inquired by several culture meat companies interested in testing this additive to grow animal cells as poultry or seafood instead of slaughtering animals.

FEBICO has a comprehensive application of microalgae from research to product development and will enter the cell therapy industry chain in the future.

(Picture: Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, president of Academia Sinica of Taiwan, visited FEBICO’s booth in December 2022 during Taiwan Healthcare Expo to discuss the application of microalgae in cell and gene therapy.)