Today, three companies have received €1.8 million from EIT Food to solve the biggest barriers to cultivating meat at scale. The funding follows their participation in the Cultivated Meat Innovation Challenge backed by the international nonprofit the Good Food Institute Europe.
The companies receiving funding:
German pharmaceutical company LenioBio was founded to develop proteins more quickly to address the West African Ebola outbreak in 2015.
Its technology, using rapidly growing plant cells to produce proteins within 48 hours, is already used in drug development.
They say cultivated meat companies can use it to produce any protein within two days at any scale, anywhere in the world — whether they are using it to produce beef or salmon — using standard equipment without the need for advanced cell engineering expertise.
They now plan to create a spin-off company to begin scaling and distributing their product globally.
3D Bio-Tissues (UK)
3D Bio-Tissues is a Newcastle University spinout producing human corneas for eye transplants. It plans to scale up production of its existing formula, which is synthesised from the byproducts of agroforestry and other industries, by expanding its manufacturing facilities.
It also plans to combine this technology with other low-cost, food-grade ingredients that can be sold to cultivated meat companies as ready-to-use, recyclable products.
BioBetter uses technology that ‘teaches’ tobacco plants to produce the growth factors cells need to reproduce — in a process similar to that already used to create vaccines and other medicines.
It aims to begin supplying its product to cultivated meat companies in 2024.
Each company will use ‘food grade’ cell culture media – far less costly and energy-intensive to produce than the pharmaceutical-grade media used by biotech companies – and plans to develop commercial products that cultivated meat companies can use to produce higher cell yields.
They plan to bring more efficient products to market within two years.
The EIT Food funding will support these companies to pursue further market testing and commercialisation for products to reach European consumers.
Dr Adam M. Adamek, director of innovation at EIT Food, said:
“This is such an exciting time for cultivated meat innovation, and we’re delighted to be awarding new funding to three of the most cutting-edge startups in the industry.
“The cost of cell-culture media is a significant barrier to scaling cultivated meat, and we hope that reducing this will bring us one step closer to seeing these innovations on the market – and to achieving a more healthy, sustainable food system.”
Seren Kell, senior science and technology manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said:
“It’s very exciting to see these innovative ideas turned into plans that could be brought to the market within the next two years, helping cultivated meat companies worldwide drive prices down and turn this more sustainable way of making meat into a commercial reality.
This work could have a major impact on how quickly we can scale up production and create a more sustainable food system.”