Smithfield Foods, which claims to be the world’s largest pork producer, wants to take a “leadership position” in using pig parts for medical uses through its new bioscience division.
The company already sells animal by-products to pharmaceutical and medical sectors that use unwanted pig parts to develop drugs that can treat issues such as indigestion, deep vein thrombosis and thyroid problems.
With the new venture, named Smithfield Bioscience, the company will expand these efforts by exploring how pork by-products can be used to address tissue regeneration. It has openly said it wants to look at making pig organs – such as hearts, lungs and liver – easily transplantable to people.
“Our commitment to innovation and sustainability stretches across all aspects of our company,” said Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods.
“Smithfield Bioscience reflects these same values by finding new uses for by-products that benefit the health and wellbeing of others.”
The new team will be solely focused on these science-based endeavours and will have little to do with Smithfield’s multi-billion-dollar meat packing empire.
One of the first projects for the new division will be taking part in the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). The public-private US initiative, funded by the US Department of Defence, set up to find new technologies and manufacturing processes for cells, tissue and organ development.
“Smithfield is a longstanding leader in sustainability and renewables, with a broad geographic presence and strong manufacturing expertise,” said Courtney Stanton, vice-president of the new bioscience division.
“With these capabilities, our vertical integration and a reputation for transparency and quality, Smithfield Bioscience is well-positioned to help the US medical and pharmaceutical industry achieve significant, scalable developments in biologics.”