BOULDER, COLO. — On Nov. 10, Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Bond Pet Foods, Inc. announced a strategic partnership to enhance the sustainability of Hill’s pet food formulas with fermented proteins. Rich Kelleman, founder and chief executive officer of Bond Pet Foods, has since shared details about the partnership with MEAT+POULTRY sister publication Pet Food Processing, including prospects for the biotech pet nutrition company going forward.

“Hill’s collaboration with Bond is part of its sustainability mission focused on combining high quality pet nutrition with what is best for the planet – as a means to leave the world a better place for people and pets,” Kelleman said. “The relationship was fostered through Plug and Play, a global innovation platform that works with startups that are creating ideas to transform animal health and agriculture. As a founding partner of Plug and Play’s Topeka office located in the KC Animal Health Corridor, Hill’s works collaboratively with the organization to support and work with select startups on strategic collaborations and pilot programs, such as Bond Pet Foods.”

In fact, Bond Pet Foods was one of 10 companies from across the United States, Australia, Spain, the United Kingdom and Sweden selected to participate in Plug and Play’s inaugural pitch competition in 2020.

Together, Hill’s and Bond will explore possible applications of a target meat protein in both dog and cat formulations and across various formats. The number of products that will be included in this sustainable reformulation project will be determined through this discovery phase, Kelleman shared, and the specific nature of the target meat protein has not yet been made public.

“The regulatory and product review process will dictate timing,” he said. “We plan to follow the appropriate product innovation development process, conducting necessary trials and obtaining all needed regulatory approvals before market introduction.”

Bond Pet Foods will manufacture the cultured meat proteins, and Hill’s Pet Nutrition will retain the rights for commercialization of those proteins.

Kelleman also noted while Bond remains focused on its collaboration with Hill’s at this time, the biotech company may look to leverage other industry relationships to accelerate the reach and impact of its meatless pet nutrition proteins solutions.

“In our Boulder food lab, we’ve demonstrated that we can produce a multitude of meat proteins through our technology platform,” he said. “While focused initially on chicken and Hill’s target protein, that work is ongoing.”

On the horizon, Bond Pet Foods aims to introduce more of its own cultured meat protein pet nutrition products, following the launch of its inaugural product — Protein-Packed Dog Treat Bars — in May 2020.