June 23, 2014

Modern Meadow has secured $10 million in Series A funding led by Horizons Ventures, the Hong Kong-based firm of billionaire investor Li Ka-shing. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as of April 16,2014 Li Ka-shing is the richest person in Asia, with a net worth of $31.9 billion.

Based in New York City, Modern Meadow is a developer of novel biomaterials. Modern Meadow is developing a tissue engineering technique called "biofabrication," to grow leather from skin cells in trays in a lab. The company is also developing biofabricated meat from muscle cells. It aims to produce lab-grown leather within two years and 3D printed meat in the more distant future.

The company currently has ten employees and it will use the new investment to accelerate R&D and product development as well as to open an expanded research headquarters at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York City.

Andras Forgacs (37), co-founder of Modern Meadow and a previous co-founder of Organovo, a leader in tissue engineering said their process is very environmentally and animal friendly. The process involves taking cells from donor animals and isolating and modifying the cells, multiplying the cells in a bioreactor. Centrifuge the products to create aggregated spheres of cells and put the cell aggregates together and allow them to fuse together using bioassembly including 3D bioprinting technology. The fused cells will be put in a bioreactor so they can mature. After several weeks skin tissue turns to hide. Muscle and fat tissue is harvested for food.

Modern Meadow exhibited their first samples of cultured leather at Singularity University event in Hollywood in 2013.

Forgacs said, "With the livestock industry being the largest user of land and water and the leading driver of climate change, now is the time to pursue better alternatives. Our goal is to develop new cultured leather materials with advantages in design, performance, sustainability and animal welfare. In the longer term, we are also developing meat products that are healthier, safer and don't require harming animals or the environment."

The global population growth and rising consumption levels are stretching the world's resources. Modern Meadow says nearly 300 million tons of meat is consumed every year and by 2050, the amount will increase to 500 million. Modern Meadow says its solution will mean 99% less land required for the animals, 96% less water consumed, 96% fewer greenhouse gases emitted, 45% less energy needed to produce the meat.

Currently it takes Modern Meadow about 1.5 months to make a square-foot leather sample in the lab. The company is working on creating lifelike lab-grown leather which is affordabl and superior to traditional leather that's made without killing an animal, the CEO said.

Previous investors in Modern Meadow include Sequoia Capital, Artis Ventures, Iconiq Capital and Peter Thiel's Breakout Labs, with support from Singularity University's Labs program. The new deal values the company at about $60 million.

Meadow has a "truly innovative and disruptive" solution that could address global resource challenges, Bart Swanson, managing director at Horizons Ventures, said in an announcement.

Horizons Ventures is a leading investor in some of the world's most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Facebook, Waze, Skype, Spotify, Siri and Hampton Creek.

Posted in 3D Printing Company

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Gdog wrote at 6/29/2014 12:18:52 AM:

I'm now off to create a kickstarter to convert poo to hamburgers! Who's first to sign up! (I'll need taste testers too) B-)

TK wrote at 6/24/2014 8:31:48 PM:

Article is a bit disjoint... Is it saying that the company Meadow is able to make hamburgers (picture) cheaper/earth friendlier than mega farms or is it able to produce leather cheaper? The picture with hamburger doesn't address whole animal costs, life and all products (IE a single cow produces meat, milk, leather etc over its lifetime)... So whats the real picture here? I almost want to create a 3d printer case that looks like a cow, Make it 'eat' filament and drop out the back little 3d printed items...

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