ISRAEL – BioBetter, an Israeli-based company, has unveiled its pioneering food-grade pilot facility designed for the production of essential growth factors needed for cultivated meat.

Utilizing tobacco plants as self-sustaining, animal-free bioreactors, BioBetter’s innovative protein manufacturing platform aims to drastically reduce the prohibitively high costs associated with lab-grown meat.

Cultivated meat, which represents real meat produced in laboratories, offers an ethical and potentially sustainable alternative to conventional meat, but its production has been hindered by exorbitant costs.

Companies like Aleph Farms have succeeded in creating small lab-grown steaks, but the expenses involved can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

BioBetter’s breakthroughs have the potential to significantly lower these costs.

“We focus on marketing raw materials like growth factors, crucial for cultivated meat production. Our aim is to lower the cost of such growth factors to US$1 per gram a hundredfold decrease from current market prices,” CEO Amit Yaari stated.

The newly inaugurated pilot facility is built to meet stringent quality and regulatory standards, capable of processing up to 100 kilograms of growth factors derived from tobacco plants daily.

These plants are meticulously engineered to prevent the release of any transgenic material and will be cultivated on a large scale.

According to Yaari, sustainability is a core principle of BioBetter’s operations. He emphasized the company’s plans to use recycled water and minimize nitrogen fertilizer use.

Meanwhile, BioBetter recently secured US$10 million in an A-round investment, led by Jerusalem Venture Partners, solidifying its position as a prominent player in the Israeli Cultivated Meat Consortium.

Additionally, over the past year, BioBetter has achieved several important milestones, including scaling up production and making substantial regulatory progress with the Israel Ministry of Health.

The company has also formed strategic partnerships with key players in the cultivated meat industry.

The global cultivated meat market, currently valued at US$250 million, requires a consistent supply of affordable growth factors to facilitate scalability.

Aviv Oren, Director of Business Engagement and Innovation at the Good Food Institute, Israel, hailed BioBetter’s technology as a “pivotal addition” with the potential to catalyze the cultivated meat industry.

Already, several thousand square meters of FGF2-expressing tobacco plants are thriving in northern Israel. BioBetter is gearing up for the commercial rollout of additional food-grade growth factors, including insulin and FGF2-expressing plants, scheduled for 2024.

The commitment underscores BioBetter’s dedication to scaling up production and making cultivated meat more affordable and accessible.

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