Uncommon, the Cambridge-based biotech start-up that’s turning cellular innovation into appetizing, environmentally friendly meat products, has secured $30 million in Series A funding.
Uncommon’s Series A was led by Balderton Capital and Lowercarbon Capital, with participation from Red Alpine, East Alpha, and previous investors including Max and Sam Altman, of OpenAI and ChatGPT fame, along with Miray Zaki and Sebastiano Castiglioni. The new influx of capital will drive Uncommon’s efforts to refine its offerings, scale up production, and navigate the regulatory approval process.
RNA-based cultivated meat
Formerly known as Higher Steaks, Uncommon is poised to transform the global pork market with its groundbreaking approach. In a world where consumers demand affordable, high-quality, and readily available food, Uncommon answers with an innovative solution. The company uses patent-pending RNA technologies to produce bacon and pork belly from a single animal cell sample, promising a more sustainable and ethical future for meat production.
At the heart of Uncommon’s revolutionary strategy is RNA, the molecule that instructs cells to produce protein. With this, the company can create delicious meat products that can compete with traditional meat in terms of price, scale faster, and offer safer, healthier alternatives without the need for gene editing.
“Our unique approach to cellular agriculture drastically reduces the raw materials needed for alternative protein production and eliminates the need for antibiotics and animal products,” Benjamina Bollag, founder and CEO of Uncommon, said in a statement. “As the only cultivated meat leveraging RNA technologies, we believe we have a competitive advantage that could help us become the largest protein company in the world. I’m delighted with the progress we’ve made so far as a company and look forward to working closely with our new and existing investors to continue to build on this progress and make a difference to global health.”
Disrupting the global pork market
Not only is Uncommon committed to developing delectable and health-conscious products, but its mission also involves addressing the environmental impact of the meat industry. Uncommon’s cultivated meat requires only a fraction of the resources used in traditional livestock farming. As such, it can contribute significantly to the reduction of carbon emissions globally.
Moreover, Uncommon’s goal extends beyond sustainability. By 2035, the company aims to hold a five percent share of the global pork market through its cultivated meat products. Uncommon’s strategy involves capitalizing on the growing cultivated meat industry, estimated to be worth $427 billion by 2040. With the fresh capital injection, they plan to ramp up production at their pilot manufacturing facility at Cambridge Technopark, expand their team, and bring the cost of goods down.
Michael Sidler, Partner at Redalpine, put it bluntly: “Uncommon’s completely novel approach holds immense potential to revolutionize the cultivated meat industry and overcome the notorious scalability and pricing obstacles that companies in this field face.”