Mosa Meat secures US$8.8m investment to bring lab-grown meat to market by 2021

636675026197548566Mosa Meat hamburger .jpg

18 Jul 2018 --- Mosa Meat, a spin-off company from Maastricht University which was behind the world’s first hamburger made directly from cow cells back in 2013, has raised €7.5 million (US$8.8 million) to bring cultured meat to market by 2021. The Dutch food start-up first inspired the emergence of an entirely new industry through pioneering work and proving the concept of cultured meat five years ago and now Mosa Meat is currently developing its first commercial products. This marks the first investment in a European cultured meat company, putting Europe on the map for the next generation of meat production.

The round was co-led by M Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of science and technology company Merck, and Bell Food Group, a meat processor in Switzerland with operations across Europe. They are joined by mission-based investors, including the Glass Wall Syndicate.

Mosa Meat was co-founded by Professor Mark Post, a leading scientist in the field who created the first cultured hamburger in 2013 and early investors include Google’s, Sergey Brin. It develops cultured meat – that is, real meat grown from cells rather than raising and slaughtering an animal. The company wants to revolutionize the way we make meat so we can match soaring global demand for meat worldwide with production that is sustainable and better for the environment.

Mosa Meat will use the Series A funding to develop an end-to-end process for cultured meat production at significantly reduced cost. The funding also allows the company to prepare for the construction of a pilot production plant for the introduction of a premium product in 2021.

“We are delighted to join forces with M Ventures and Bell Food Group to create the future of meat,” says Mosa Meat CEO Peter Verstrate. “M Ventures brings strong experience in the early-stage financing of science-based companies like ours and has added tremendous value throughout the fundraising process, while Bell Food Group brings strong downstream capabilities in meat processing and distribution. We think this is a perfect collaboration.”

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Co-founder of Mosa Meat, Professor Mark Post

“M Ventures, being the corporate venture capital fund of Merck, is the perfect door-opener to Merck's deep expertise in culturing cells and producing high quality and scalable cell media. This is significant given that the cell media currently comprises 80 percent of the cost of cultured meat,” he explains.

“Replacing traditional meat production with cultured meat would have a huge impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it would free up a large number of resources that are now used for meat production worldwide and will completely disrupt an old-established and currently unsustainable industry,” notes Alexander Hoffmann, Principal at M Ventures. 

“We're incredibly excited to be leading this investment into Mosa Meat, a company at the unique cross-section of food and biotech.”

“Meat demand is soaring and in future won't be met by livestock agriculture alone,” states Lorenz Wyss, CEO of Bell Food Group. We believe this technology can become a true alternative for environment-conscious consumers and we are delighted to bring our know-how and expertise of the meat business into this strategic partnership with Mosa Meat.”

The rise of cultured meat has been a key discussion area for several years since the pioneering research from the University of Maastricht leading to the creation of the Mosa Meat in 2015, two years after the US$250,000 artificial meat hamburger was presented to the world’s media to much hype.

FoodIngredientsFirst has also requested more information from Mosa Meat. 

The technology has entered a new stage, with commercial viability moving significantly closer. You can read more about our initial reporting on this here.

Read more of FoodIngredientsFirst original coverage when the cultured meat researchers first formed the university spin-off company here

Lab-grown meat is making waves among some of the world’s biggest investors tipping the innovation to be the future of protein-packed food. 

Last summer clean meat innovators Memphis Meat received groundbreaking support from investors, including billionaire entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, as well as one of the world’s largest global agricultural companies, Cargill. 

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Memphis Meats is developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals.

In February, the venture capital arm of US multinational corporation Tyson Foods – the world's second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork – invested in the food tech start-up, insisting it’s not counter-intuitive. 

Also at the beginning of this year, groundbreaking Israeli food-tech start-up, SuperMeat, raised US$3 million in seed funding and joined forces with one of Europe’s largest poultry producers, PHW, establishing itself as a significant contender in the global shift towards lab-grown clean chicken.

In addition, earlier this year a study showed that 29 percent of UK & US consumers say they would eat cultured meat, while 40 percent of Americans are happy to do so and 60 percent of vegans are willing to give it a try, according to new research from Surveygoo, commissioned by specialist PR agency Ingredient Communications.

The research also showed that vegans are the consumer segment most likely to do so, with 60 percent stating they would be willing to eat lab-grown meat. 

By Gaynor Selby

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