Seed World

Calyxt Announces Pilot BioFactory Production System Now Operational

Calyxt, Inc. announced that its pilot BioFactory production system, installed in late December 2021, is now operational at its headquarters site in Minnesota.

“I am proud of the effort our team and suppliers made to achieve this milestone on schedule, as it marks an important step in the scaling of our production. The data we collect and analyze will drive future decisions as well as help improve our test cycles and development timeline,” said Michael A. Carr, president and CEO of Calyxt. “We are encouraged by the number of inbounds from potential customers regarding our technology and the quality of our conversations. We are seeking customer orders of two to four compounds for development by year end 2022, and as a result are using our selection criteria to determine the compounds to pursue based on customer need. We look forward to providing further updates on our continued scaling and customer acquisition throughout the year.”

On October 5, 2021, Calyxt announced the launch of a strategic initiative that focused the Company on engineering synthetic biology solutions for a diversified base of customers using its expanded proprietary PlantSpring technology platform. The output from PlantSpring is integrated with the Company’s BioFactory production system, enabling Calyxt to rapidly prototype and produce complex plant-derived compounds without the need for outdoor cropping systems.

Calyxt’s proprietary Plant Cell Matrix systems have been placed in the BioFactory, where they will be used for testing at pilot-scale production. The pilot is currently in its testing period, during which time the Company will ensure the system, including its data generation and communication capabilities for artificial intelligence modeling, is working as expected. This is a key step in understanding the scaling capability of the BioFactory production system.

Calyxt’s technology platform, PlantSpring, is founded on the Company’s more than a decade of experience engineering plant metabolism, and includes its scientific knowledge, its proprietary systems, tools, and technologies; and an expanding set of AIML capabilities. This licensable platform delivers innovation through an efficient development process. The process includes identification of breakthrough compounds based on customer needs, design strategies to reprogram host cells, engineering of plant cell metabolism to optimally produce targeted plant-based chemistries, and production of those target chemistries at laboratory scale. Calyxt has developed early-stage AIML capabilities in PlantSpring, which enable learning and adaptation of knowledge gained from past activity and can be combined with predictive analytics to rapidly prototype and provide feedback, accelerating the time to complete the design-engineer-verify development cycle and helping mitigate the risk associated with commercial scale-up. As a result, Calyxt believes it can develop biomolecules in plants for customers at faster speeds than its competitors in the synthetic biology industry. The output from the PlantSpring platform integrates with the Company’s newly commissioned BioFactory production system.

The BioFactory production system is the culmination of the work of Calyxt’s researchers and will enable the Company to expand its production methods from solely outdoor agriculture systems to also include controlled environment, bioreactor-based production systems. The BioFactory harnesses the potential of plant cells in a multicellular matrixed structure and utilizes nutrient media for its production. The BioFactory leverages multiple cell types, and the multicellular matrix structures enable processing of plant-based chemistries of increased complexity relative to those possible using traditional fermentation systems or single cell plant culture methods. In addition, the speed of the matrix growth over time is expected to accelerate the production of the compound at scale. As a result, Calyxt’s production system is capable of unlocking the power of plants to produce complex compounds that are finite, difficult to source sustainably, and that may not be able to be produced using other production methods. Calyxt has been running lab-scale bioreactors for several months and its first pilot-scale bioreactor has been commissioned and is expected to be online by the end of 2021. There may be a range of vessel sizes between the initial pilot facility and commercial production. For transition from pilot to commercialization, the Company’s current plan is to use third parties, referred to as infrastructure partners, for at-scale BioFactory production. Because of its production methodology, Calyxt believes the BioFactory has the potential to be one of the most sustainable production systems across industries.