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On May 2, Jerusalem-based biotechnology company Future Meat Technologies announced a US$2.2 million seed investment round, co-led by Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods. The Israeli company is advancing a distributive manufacturing platform for the cost-efficient, non-GMO production of meat directly from animal cells, without the need to raise or harvest animals.
Future Meat Technologies focusses on developing a new generation of manufacturing technology that enables the cost-efficient production of fat and muscle cells, the core building blocks of meat. In addition to Tyson Ventures, the Neto Group, one of the largest food conglomerates in Israel, S2G Ventures, a Chicago-based venture capital fund, BitsXBites, China’s first food technology venture capital fund, and Agrinnovation, an Israeli investment fund founded by Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of The Hebrew University, participated in this round, as well as private investment, New York based HB Ventures.
“It is difficult to imagine cultured meat becoming a reality with a current production price of about US$10,000 per kilogram,” said Prof Yaakov Nahmias, the Founder and Chief Scientist, Future Meat Technologies. “We redesigned the manufacturing process until we brought it down to US$800 per kilogram today, with a clear roadmap to US$5-10 per kg by 2020.”
“This is our first investment in an Israel-based company and we’re excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative, new ways of producing protein,” said Justin Whitmore, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Chief Sustainability Officer, Tyson Foods. “We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices.”