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This startup wants to reduce cost of meat scaffolds, raises $1.2M


The markets for cultured meat and plant-based foods are flourishing. Cultured meat is expected to account for 35 percent of worldwide meat production by 2040, and the concept is spreading globally. Cell-cultured meat is now dealing with an image problem, with the stigmas of “wrong texture” and “too expensive to mass-produce.”

To put things in perspective, meat created in vitro from animal cells is known as cultured meat. It’s a type of cellular farming. Tissue engineering techniques, which are often utilised in regenerative medicine, are employed to create cultured meat.

A seed round of $1.2M has been raised by an Estonian start-up that wants to lower the cost of growing meat from cell cultures. Gelatex, based in Tallinn, claims that its technology, which is used to create sustainable meat, will make cultured meat more accessible to a wider spectrum of people due to the cost savings that its scientific breakthroughs will bring to the process.

The Techstars accelerator in the United States highlighted Gelatex as a potential investor for their objective to democratise cell-cultured meat products. Change Ventures and Crosslight Partners led the funding round, which will be utilised to further develop the technology underlying their lab-manufactured meat, making affordable cell-cultured beef a reality.

Gelatex, which was launched in 2016, claims to have discovered a way to reduce the cost of creating cell-cultured beef products by 90%.

Cultivated Meat Scaffolds

The company claims to be selling scaffolds — sheets manufactured from nanofibrous materials such as soy protein that offer structural support for cell growth — to other companies so they may make their own meat.

This scaffolding gives a structure for animal-derived cells to maintain their stability. It’s critical that meat developed in this way has a structure so that the final result works to a high standard, as people anticipate, rather than merely a protein-rich goo.

The funding will allow the start-up to expand its manufacturing capacity, lowering the cost of nanofibrous materials and, as a result, the cost of making cultured meats.

Märt-Erik Martens, CEO of Gelatex, said, “Today, thanks to our technology, we can easily make nanofibrous scaffolds for less than 1000 €/kg.” If we stick to our goals and continue to scale our technology, it will only cost 40 euros in less than 5 years. In fewer than ten years, you’ll have spent 20 euros. This equates to less than a euro of scaffolding per kilogramme of meat. Because of our technique, these high-performance materials have never been more accessible than they are now.”

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