Founded in 2014 by Arvind Gupta of SOS Ventures, Indie Bio has already backed cultured milk start-up Muufri (pronounced ‘Moo-free’), which inserts DNA sequences from cattle into yeast cells to grow milk in the lab; and Clara Foods, which is using yeast to produce animal-free egg whites; and is looking for the next wave of companies to support, said program director Ryan Bethencourt.
“Cultured versions of animal products have the potential to overhaul the food industry and help address major global issues of sustainability and public health. This is one area in which biotech developments could improve the lives of billions of people and animals… "
The move was welcomed by LA-based animal rights group Mercy for Animals, which said: "This move could spare billions of future animals from a lifetime of misery as biotech food companies replace cruel and unsustainable factory farms.”
What is cultured meat?
Cultured meat (read a great guide HERE from New Harvest) is meat produced in the lab, in a cell culture, rather than from an animal. However, the production begins by taking cells from an animal and growing them in a nutrient-rich medium. As they multiply, they might be attached to a sponge-like ‘scaffold’ and soaked with nutrients or mechanically stretched to increase their size and protein content.
The resulting cells can then be harvested, seasoned, cooked, and consumed as a boneless, processed meat, such as sausages, hamburgers, or chicken nuggets.