Liberation Labs, a biotechnology company based in the US, will build its first purpose-built precision fermentation biomanufacturing facility in Richmond, Indiana, to manufacture biobased proteins and other building block components at a commercial scale.
The facility will reduce expenses, and increase the yield and process efficiency for new bioproducts, addressing the requirement of both new and existing consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and other industrial manufacturers to make their end products cost-competitive.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the facility took place in June 2023. The company is expected to invest approximately $115m for the development of the facility. Commercial production is set to begin by the end of 2024, which is expected to generate 45 manufacturing jobs.
Location of the facility
The facility will be located on a 36-acre parcel present within Phase I of the 700-acre Midwest Industrial Park in Richmond.
Midwest Industrial Park is owned and maintained by the City of Richmond together with the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County.
The site is close to the Interstate 70 motorway, the Norfolk Southern Railway mainline and three regional airports, which will be favourable for shipping and logistics. It is also close to three large metropolitan areas, which may help in attracting qualified labour to the facility.
Its proximity to economical carbon feedstocks will also provide logistical advantages to the facility.
Fermentation biomanufacturing facility construction details
The first-of-a-kind facility will feature 150,000-litre fermenters and a fully dedicated downstream process (DSP), with DSP separation and drying units having a fermentation capacity of 600,000 litres.
The facility will be fully dedicated to supporting the cost-effective and high-yield manufacturing of new bioproducts. It will help in meeting the rising demand for new proteins from both conventional and food-tech companies.
Liberation Labs has completed front-end loading level 3 engineering for the facility and has placed orders for all the major equipment. Clean solar energy will contribute to the total base load power a significant amount to help run the facility.
Liberation Labs received $20m in funding in a seed financing round led by Agronomics, a venture capital company, and Siddhi Capital, a growth equity business, in December 2022. Part of the proceeds has been utilised to purchase a site and its development to build the fermentation biomanufacturing facility.
The company secured $30m in equipment financing to support the development of the facility in April 2023.
Liberation Labs’ precision fermentation details
Liberation Labs utilises the BIO3 manufacturing platform, which is designed and engineered for an efficient and flexible fermentation process.
The fermentation process in the platform integrates a downstream recovery process with multiple feed capabilities such as sugar, methanol, and glycerine, continuous sterilisation of media and carbon source, high level of sterility, fed-batch, draw and fill operating scenarios, and the ability to handle genetically modified organisms.
Marketing commentary on Liberation Labs
Liberation Labs focuses on the marketing of precision fermentation with a worldwide network of purpose-built manufacturing facilities to support biotechnology advancements to produce biobased consumer products at a commercial scale.
The company receives incentives provided by Wayne County and the State of Indiana such as tax credits, grants, workforce incentives, and discounts on purchasing land.
Each of the estimated 45 direct jobs is expected to support approximately three additional jobs in the region.