Aleph Farms buys VBL Therapeutics facility, signs MOU with ESCO Aster

Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aleph Farms

Aleph Farms, the first company to grow cultivated steaks directly from non-modified cow cells, announced that it has acquired a manufacturing facility in Modi’in, Israel, and certain related assets from biotechnology company VBL Therapeutics. In addition, Aleph Farms has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ESCO Aster, a vertically-integrated contract manufacturing organization, to produce cultivated meat in Singapore.

What do the agreements mean for Aleph Farms?

These agreements stand to increase Aleph Farms’ production capabilities and global impact as the company approaches commercialization. Existing assets from VBL Therapeutics will be paired with a smooth technology transfer from Aleph Farms’ pilot production facility in Rehovot, Israel, to increase local output in response to rising demand for quality protein.

“Israel and Singapore are the first two markets where we intend to launch our cultivated thin-cut steak. Building up production capacity quickly in those locations while keeping capital investment lean provides a clear roadmap to scalability. Beyond Israel and Singapore, we plan on building additional strategic assets worldwide as part of our effort to bring more security and resilience to food systems,” said Didier Toubia, CEO and co-founder of Aleph Farms.

The signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between Aleph Farms and ESCO Aster was witnessed by the Ambassador of Israel to Singapore, His Excellence Sagi Karni, and the Non-Resident Ambassador of Singapore to Israel and Chairman of the Singapore Food Agency, HE Lim Chuan Poh, demonstrating the strong ties between the two countries.

From left to right: Didier Toubia, HE Sagi Karni, HE Lim Chuan Poh, and Xiangliang (XL) Lin

This MOU covers the use of ESCO Aster’s manufacturing expertise in producing Aleph Farms’ cultivated meat in Singapore, helping the nation work towards its goal of “30 by 30” — the establishment of agri-food capabilities that can satisfy 30% of the island’s nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030. Such terms also position Singapore as a focal point for Aleph Farms’ future expansion in Southeast Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

What do VBL and ESCO bring to Aleph Farms’ portfolio?

ESCO Aster is the first and only company with full regulatory approval from a govt authority (Singapore Food Agency), and with ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 certifications, to produce cultivated meat for commercial sales and consumption at the highest safety standards.

“We are proud to be working with Aleph Farms to bring its cultivated steak to Singapore,” said Xiangliang (XL) Lin, CEO of ESCO Aster and Deputy CEO of ESCO Lifesciences Group.

“As part of our contract manufacturing Memorandum Of Understanding, we will work together with religious authorities on obtaining a halal certificate for our facility, enabling our collaboration with Aleph to expand to even more of the broader region,” Lin further added.

Dror Harats, Chief Executive Officer of VBL Therapeutics

“Our state-of-the-art facility will enable Aleph Farms to unlock value and ramp up local production in an efficient manner. We look forward to seeing the facility support Aleph Farms’ goals in the future,” added Dror Harats, MD, Chief Executive Officer of VBL Therapeutics.

Today, Aleph Farms is working closely with regulatory agencies around the world as it prepares for the commercial launch of its first product, a cultivated thin-cut steak. The company also plans to produce different cuts of steak as well as other products based on animal cells, such as cultivated collagen, through additional proprietary capabilities.

From a single fertilized egg, Aleph Farms can grow thousands of tons of cultivated meat, serving as part of a just and inclusive transition to sustainable and secure food systems.