Multus secures funding to build First-of-its-kind growth media factory in UK

UK – Multus, a biotechnology start-up company, has received 8.9 million (US$9.6 million) in funding to build a first-of-its-kind facility that will focus on manufacturing food-safe growth media.

The funding round was led by investors such as Mandi Ventures, SSOV, and Big Idea Investors among others.

Multus also received an additional equity-free grant of EUR2.42 (US$2.57M) from Innovate UK through the European Innovation Council accelerator.

The new facility will focus on the production of key ingredients that will help with the affordable scale-up of cellular agriculture and accelerate the commercial growth of the cultivated meats industry.

The new site is anticipated to be open and operational before the year ends.

Companies in the cultivated meat industry have disclosed that although cultivating growth media in-house offers complete control over production, it is complex, time-consuming and the production costs are difficult to sustain.

Multus, therefore, intends to use its latest round of funding to fill the gap in the industry which will help these companies outsource ready-made and food-safe growth media.

“We are already seeing a trend across the industry, of companies leveraging partnerships with specialist solution providers to reduce cost and timeline of delivery.” Said Cai Linton, Multus CEO.

Cultured meat makers have historically relied on fetal bovine serum (FBS), a nutrient-rich solution that feeds animal cells to grow them into substantial pieces of meat.

Multus will however use an FBS substitute called Proliferum M. The substitute is serum-free with the ability to grow various cell types across mammalian and non-mammalian species alike in 2D and 3D cultures.

The most significant challenge the company anticipates facing is how it will reinvent growth media production using food manufacturing principles.

Alternative protein to constitute about a quarter of all foods by 2040

Despite the challenges, the demand for growth media is expected to be robust as more people embrace alternative proteins for health and sustainability reasons.

A recent study commissioned by German food technology company GEA argues that alternative proteins will constitute about a quarter of all foods by 2040.

The results based were based on a survey on 1000 chefs from all over the globe.

The professional chefs confirmed that plant-based products are compelling alternatives both price-wise and in quality.

90% of the chefs already use meat and dairy alternatives and they report a high degree of increased demand in their restaurants.

According to the GEA study, 70% of the chefs however consider quality improvements in the plant-based alternatives to be crucial to the success of the industry.

“Alternative proteins hold the promise of helping feed a growing population using fewer resources. As such, they can play an essential role in making our food system more sustainable and reliable,” says Stefan Klebert, CEO of GEA.

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