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TECHNOLOGY

BioBetter lands US$10 mn funding to relieve cultivated meat’s bottleneck using tobacco plants
Friday, 09 September, 2022, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
KiryatShemona, Israel
FoodTech start-up BioBetter, Ltd., has secured US$10 mn in its A –round funding. The round was led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), with additional investment from Milk and Honey Investments, LLC, and the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA). This significant injection of capital will be instrumental in accelerating cell-cultured meat closer to its ambitions for broad scale production.

The company harnesses the inherent advantages of tobacco plants as bioreactors for creating the growth factors necessary for the cellular development of cultivated meat. This landmark botanical development could significantly reduce the cost of cultured meat and help rapidly advance its commercialisation. The start-up is on a mission to relieve one of the biggest bottlenecks in this emerging industry: the steep costs and limited availability of growth factors that play a critical role in multiplying cultured meat cells.

The company has pioneered a unique protein manufacturing platform for producing growth factors (GFs) using tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum) as natural, self-sustaining, animal-free bioreactors. The field-grown tobacco plants offer a new, sustainable, efficient, and flexible response to the market need for more competitively priced GFs, specifically insulin, transferrin, and FGF2. These compounds are necessary to make cultivated meat commercially viable.

“Biobetter has the key to scale up production of cultivated meat, make it accessible to consumers globally and protect our planet,” declares Erel Margalit, founder & executive chairman of JVP & Margalit Startup City. “This is not only because of the sheer volumes of GFs it can produce but also by virtue of its ability to substantially reduce their cost.” Growth factors form the key building blocks for cell-cultured proteins. But costs currently run anywhere from US$50,000 to US$500,000 per gram of FGF2, for example. The company’s technology has the potential to bring these costs down to just one US dollar per gram.
 
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