With the US$ 60 million investment, the JBS Biotech Innovation Center will be installed in the Sapiens Parque technology center in Florianópolis
JBS, global leader in protein-based food, has chosen the city of Florianópolis (SC) as the headquarters of the JBS Biotech Innovation Center, a research center dedicated to the food area. To begin with, the location will focus on developing in-house technology for the production of cultivated protein, aiming to make the production process more efficient, scalable and financially competitive.
The investment in the state capital of Santa Catarina is estimated at US$ 60 million over the next four years to set up the research center and develop the technologies for alternative protein production. Initially, the Company will focus its efforts on building specialized facilities for developing 100% Brazilian technology for producing cultivated protein and the pilot plant, in addition to acquiring the inputs needed for carrying out the research.
The JBS Biotech Innovation Center will be set up on a land area of 40,000 m2, consisting of a complex that will occupy a block of four plots bordered by a small artificial lake, in a privileged position within the Sapiens Parque technology park. At the outset, the facilities will occupy an initial area of 10,000 m2, with the possibility of expansion for future JBS projects.
“This is by far the largest investment by a Brazilian company in the cultivated protein sector and reinforces our innovation strategy to adapt to consumer trends and feed the growing global population. The new JBS Biotech Innovation Center puts us in a unique position to lead this segment,” said Eduardo Noronha, Head of Innovation and Operational Excellence of JBS.
The new RD&I center is expected to generate more than 100 direct jobs, including 25 highly skilled specialist Ph.D. positions for the cultivated protein research project alone. The project will be led by leading bioengineering experts Luismar Marques Porto, JBS Biotech Innovation Center President, and Fernanda Vieira Berti, Vice President of the RD&I center.
Two of Brazil’s major specialists in bioengineering, both scientists have extensive international professional and academic experience. While Porto has been a visiting scientist at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Fernanda worked at the I3Bs Research Institute, and created a startup incubated in Silicon Valley (USA) that products based on regenerative medicine and T-cells for treating animals.
Expansion in cultivated protein
The investment in the RD&I Center consolidates the movement that JBS began in November 2021, following the acquisition of control of BioTech Foods. The Spanish company is one of the leaders in the development of biotechnology for producing cultivated protein and enjoys support and financing from the government of Spain and the European Union.
The deal, announced to the market in November of last year, was approved by the Spanish government last weekend. The global leader in protein-based foods now has a 51% ownership stake in BioTech Foods and will provide its global muscle to accelerate the development of the cultivated protein market.
BioTech Foods will use the proceeds of the transaction to finance its expansion plans. The company operates a pilot plant in the city of San Sebastián and expects to reach commercial production in mid-2024, with the construction of a new 1,000 tons per year manufacturing unit. The investment in the new facility is estimated at US$ 41 million.