Bond Pet Foods, Inc., a biotech startup making animal-free proteins for pet food, has announced that it has developed the world’s first animal-free cultured chicken meat protein for cats and dogs. The Boulder, Colorado-based company also revealed it closed a bridge funding round, and hailed its prototype as a major step towards scale-up and commercialisation.
The new animal-free chicken protein suitable for pet food applications is created using a one-time sample taken from a heritage hen named Inga. Bond Pet Foods then determined and extracted the best genetic code, which was then coupled with a strain of food grade yeast to grow in a fermentation tank. The final product is a chicken protein that is identical to its conventional counterpart, but is slaughter-free and uses up far fewer resources to produce.
“A new wave of responsible food production is emerging,” said Rich Kelleman, co-founder and CEO of Bond Pet Foods. “Our team’s continued developments are laying the foundation to bring high-value meat protein and nutrition to dogs and cats, while removing farm animals from the equation.”
Since its inception in 2015, the Boulder-based startup’s fermentation biotechnology has attracted investment from some of the leading funds in the space, including New York and Hong Kong-based Lever VC, Saudi Prince Khaled’s KBW Ventures and Agronomics. Bond Pet Foods also announced alongside the news of its prototype the close of a bridge round of financing from existing investors Lever VC, KBW and new funds from Stage 1 and Trellis Road. The amount of funding was not disclosed.
Our team’s continued developments are laying the foundation to bring high-value meat protein and nutrition to dogs and cats, while removing farm animals from the equation.Rich Kelleman, Co-Founder & CEO of Bond Pet Foods
To demonstrate the potential of the startup’s latest prototype, the company developed a baked treat recipe with its novel animal-free chicken ingredient and fed samples to a select group of dogs. According to the Bond Pet Foods, the dog participants were enthusiastic about the treats.
“Our initial tests with dog volunteers have been very promising, and its nutritionals, palatability and digestibility will only improve on our path to commercialization,” said Pernilla Audibert, co-founder and CTO of Bond Pet Foods.
Once fully developed, the startup says that its cultured chicken protein will boast the same primary nutritional value of conventional chicken meat, including essential amino acids, and plans to debut the first chicken-based products by 2023.
Our initial tests with dog volunteers have been very promising, and its nutritionals, palatability and digestibility will only improve on our path to commercialization.Pernilla Audibert, Co-Founder & CTO of Bond Pet Foods
“The science team at Bond is also working on production of other cultured meat proteins made through a similar fermentation process,” added Audibert. “The successful chicken prototype is a demonstration of our technology’s potential to create a complete portfolio of animal proteins for pet consumption, and beyond.”
So far, Bond Pet Foods has launched one consumer product on the market, a high-protein dog treat bar made with pure nutritional yeast. It is plant-based and not derived from animals, but was developed using the same fermentation technique.
All images courtesy of Bond Pet Foods.