Israeli company Future Meat Technologies, the developer of lab-grown meat, raised another $26.75 million in funding through its strategic partners to scale up the production of animal-free meat and accelerate research and development. The company made the announcement last week alongside a major breakthrough in bringing down the production cost of cultured chicken breast to $7.50 (NIS 24.60).
Future Meat was founded in 2018 and has advanced the cost-efficient, GMO-free production of meat directly from animal cells, without the need to raise or harvest animals. In addition to chicken, the company is also working on cultured lamb kebabs and beef burgers.
The technology is based on the work of Professor Yaakov Nahmias of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is licensed through its technology transfer company, Yissum. Nahmias serves as co-founder and chief scientific officer of the startup.
Future Meat’s process uses the rapid growth of connective tissue cells, called fibroblasts, to reach high densities before turning the cells to cultured muscle and healthy fats. The company says it aims to introduce hybrid products – combining plant proteins for texture and cultured fats that create the distinct aroma and flavor of meat.
Future Meat’s investors have included leading players in the food and agriculture industries including Tyson Foods, ADM, and Müller Group alongside VCs such as S2G Ventures, ADM Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures, Manta Ray Ventures and Bits x Bites.
“Cultured meat technology is the Apollo program of the 21st century,” said Professor Nahmias. “It required massive efforts of biologists, chemists, engineers and food experts to reduce the cost of cultured meat by over 1,000-fold in just a few years. We are proud to be within reach of cost parity with traditional agriculture without any need to resort to genetic engineering, ensuring the supply of safe, delicious food for coming generations.”
“Cost-efficient production has been a critical focus area for the cultured meat industry,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat. “This development is a major step forward in Future Meat Technologies’ ability to provide affordable, scalable and sustainable products that can meet the growing demand for meat,”
Future Meat plans to open a pilot facility for the production of cultured meat near Tel Aviv in the coming months.