Cultured meat company Mosa Meat has closed a $55m Series B funding round

5 Oct 2020

Late last month, Dutch biotech company Mosa Meat closed a $55 million Series B funding round with participation from Blue Horizon Ventures, Bell Food Group and M Ventures. Dr. Regina Hecker from Blue Horizon Ventures is joining the company’s board.

These funds will be used to expand the company’s current production facility in Maastricht, Netherlands as well as grow its team, develop an industrial production line and work toward the commercialization of cell-based meat.

Cultured meat company Mosa Meat has closed a $55m Series B funding round
Photo Courtesy of Mosa Meat

Mosa Meat is known for being the first company to create a cell-based hamburger, which it successfully managed in 2013. Although a breakthrough moment, the patty cost $280,000 to make. The steep cost of the company’s burger was primarily due to the use of fetal bovine syrup (FBS) as a primary ingredient. This summer, the company removed the pricy ingredient citing the component as inhumane – FBS comes from unborn calves – and replaced it with animal component-free growth media, reducing the price of its cell-growing medium by 88 times.

Removing FBS from its manufacturing process was not the only change for this seven year old company made during 2020. Mosa Meat secured two partnerships, one with the animal nutrition company Nutreco and another with Lowercarbon Capital. With Nutreco, Mosa Meat is working to develop a nutritious environment in which to grow cells. Its partnership with Lowercarbon Capital establishes a relationship with an influential funder that is known for investing in companies that are working toward solutions to combat climate change.

The link between cell-based meat and the slowing of climate change is readily apparent. Cell-based meat production uses fewer resources than traditional animal protein cultivation. Annual greenhouse gas emissions from the meat and dairy sector topped emissions from petroleum giants like Exxon, Shell and BP. GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy have cautioned that these agriculture sectors may compose 80% of the planet’s GHG in the next 30 years if their growth remains unchecked.

Cultured meat is a space that has gained significant investor support in recent months. In the first quarter of 2020, companies in the cell-based meat space brought in $189 million in funding, according to a report from the Good Food Institute. The three months of funding was over double the $77 million that the category earned in the entirety of 2019.

Despite interest in the space, consumers are more wary of meat products that are cultured than they are of products that are derived from animals or plant-based. Researchers from the University of Sydney and Curtin University found that 72% of people surveyed who were born between 1995 and 2015 viewed cultured meat “with disgust.” A poll from the marketing and communications firm Charleston|Orwig supported this finding where four in 10 respondents found the idea of lab-grown food to be “scary.”

It is still years into the future before these lab-grown prototypes are available to consumers for purchase. The company said that it does not yet have a date for the commercialization of its product, but it is actively working with European regulators to demonstrate the safety of cultivated beef and gain regulatory approval for its distribution and sale.

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