Fermify and Bilfinger Life Science team up on Dairy Protein Disruption – Driven by Economics


  • Fermify and Bilfinger Life Science team up to collaboratively bring dairy proteins to economic viability.
  • The partnership is now first bearing fruit: The cost of fermentation assets has been reduced 3 times for the designed pilot plant.

With its knowledge on digitalized bioprocess technology, Fermify is developing a simple and fully automated production platform to address the issue of large-scale milk protein production. Bilfinger Life Science has decades of experience in designing, manufacturing and installing bioprocess equipment and is building modular automated precision fermentation skids for this innovative solution. The new platform will give food companies the opportunity to produce bioprocessed novel products economically on a large scale.

Wolfgang Dornfeld, Head of Business Development, Innovation and Sales at Bilfinger Life Science says, "Building fermentation plants is in our DNA and a proven success story in the biopharma industry. The partnership with Fermify gives us the opportunity to apply this experience to new promising and pioneering applications. Customers will greatly benefit from this partnership. They will be provided with a highly innovative solution from a science-based start-up combined with the know-how and rock solid reliability of a market proven equipment manufacturer."

Precision fermentation for alternative proteins with food application has achieved its breakthrough in 2022. Several companies are currently working to make animal-free caseins a delicious and healthy alternative to conventional products. A wide range of sustainability-oriented consumers, so-called flexitarians, eagerly await this new dietary option with the words "I want to go plant-based but I love cheese."
Enabled by a vast knowledge transfer from the bio pharmaceutical industry, we are not far from finding the first animal-free casein cheeses with the superior functionality of cow-derived proteins at the supermarket – however, still, overpriced premium products. 

The partnership between Fermify and Bilfinger Life Science will solve the challenge of economic feasibility. Bilfinger provides unique expertise in plant engineering and project execution, Fermify adds and keeps unique knowledge on digitalized bioprocess technology. 
The partnership is now first bearing fruit: The cost of fermentation assets has been reduced 3 times for the designed pilot plant within a few months, which allows our first customers to receive an affordable pilot casein production skid for the product development phase. This means, the collaboration will enable the cost effective  in-house production of bioprocessed novel goods  for large-scale food companies.

Fermify is developing a fully digitized and regulated production platform for continuous bioprocessing that allows customers without any biotech competency, e.g. dairy factories, to provide casein proteins freshly and at required scale. Fermify is delivering the production platform design, programmed microorganisms, an AI-driven software and the unique bioprocess control strategy to produce dairy proteins.

Bilfinger Life Science supports the market for alternative protein with a design-build-run model. Specialized in engineering, manufacturing and installing precision fermentation equipment, Bilfinger Life Science will offer modular skids based on Fermifys‘ proprietary system. The continuous multi-protein production system that consists of the entire production line, from media preparation to downstream processing, will be constructed, assembled and maintained by Bilfinger directly at Fermify’s customers, various leading dairy and ingredient companies from all around the world.
"We’ve spoken to more than 30 innovative dairy companies worldwide and have learned that the entire dairy industry is ready to invest in their own production facilities. Early adopters are already looking for an angle to get closer to economic precision fermentation derived protein technology and we are happy that they have found it in Fermify", says Eva Sommer, CEO at Fermify. "We are proud to be an enabler for this sustainable technology for dairy production by supplying a holistic solution to produce the proteins decentralized at dairy factories, a solution that allows a safe supply chain", says Eva. "We are very proud that a world-leading engineering and equipment provider such as Bilfinger Life Science is joining forces with Fermify to accelerate the construction of CAPEX solutions.”

Fermify GmbH is a biotech company based in Vienna, Austria, developing an intelligence-driven production platform for dairy proteins. The start-up was founded in 2021 by current CEO Eva Sommer. Fermify’s headquarter with an international team of 20 scientists is based in Vienna with the plan to expand to APAC in the beginning of 2023. 
Fermify’s vision is clear: Creating a more sustainable and ethical food system. We empower dairy companies to change the world. 

Improving people’s quality of life while sustainably saving resources is the key driver of all Bilfinger Life Science activities. As an experienced design-build-run partner, Bilfinger Life Science provides automated process equipment for the market segments pharma, nutrition and environment. The range of services cover the entire life cycle of production plants: from consulting, engineering and process development through fabrication, automation, installation and commissioning of equipment to documentation, qualification and maintenance. With this seamless design-build-run approach, Bilfinger Life Science provides end-to-end solutions from a single source without interface losses. As a result, customers enjoy minimized project risks and benefits from clearly assigned responsibilities while keeping supplier management costs to a minimum.