Cellular agriculture startups around the world are finding traction in surprising ways.
While many associate cellular agriculture with cell cultivated or lab-grown meat that is on a longer path to mainstream scale and consumer adoption, startups in the space are going far beyond that to find ways to build value today.
- Cellular agriculture is the process of using cell cultures to produce food through biotechnology. The idea is to create real, genuine animal products without the animal.
- The majority of venture backed startups in cellular agriculture have been pursuing cell cultivated meat and dairy products, as that is widely considered the largest opportunity
- Recently, startups in cellular agriculture have started finding traction and commercial application for products that go well beyond meat and dairy
Who is making moves:
- California-based VitroLabs is utilizing cellular agriculture to create 'lab-grown leather'. French luxury house Kering, which owns the Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen brands, has invested in VitroLabs to fast track commercialization of the material
- China based cultivated meat startup Jimi Biotech has developed a deer antler stem cell line, which is believed to be the first in the world. Deer antler is an extremely popular health supplement that has been shown to increase energy in humans and has also historically been used in traditional Chinese medicine
- Los Angeles based cultivated beef startup Omeat has begun generating revenues from a serum they call ‘Plenty’, an ethical replacement to Fetal Bovine Serum. Omeat is selling their proprietary serum to biopharma companies, regenerative medicine and vaccine developers who use in vitro cell cultures
- UK-based Multus Biotechnology has been generating revenue from their proprietary serum formulations and ingredients, landing partnerships with academic institutions and life sciences companies across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Why it matters:
- Currently, cell cultivated meat only has regulatory approval for human consumption in Singapore and the United States, which creates limitations for many cellular agriculture startups
- Recent scientific innovation in cellular agriculture shows that there may be potential for commercial products that previously were not imagined or thought to be possible
- One of the long standing criticisms of cellular agriculture has been its challenges getting to price parity with traditional meat, which is significantly cheaper than cell cultivated meat at present
- However, if cellular agriculture continues to make meaningful scientific breakthroughs there could be an entirely new set of opportunities that become unlocked