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Matrix Meats, an Ohio-based startup developing nanofibre scaffolds for cultivated meat products, has announced the completion of an oversubscribed seed funding round. The investment will be used to expand the firm’s partnerships and scale-up manufacturing to accelerate the cultivated protein market – a sector poised for major growth this year following the industry milestone of the world’s first commercial sale of cultured meat in December last year.
Matrix Meats, a maker of nanofibre scaffolding – the critical building block to provide a structure for cells to replicate in the development cell-based meats – has recently closed a seed funding round. The investment round was led by Unovis Asset Management, with participation from CPT Capital, Siddhi Capital and Clear Current Capital among others.
While the funding amount was undisclosed, the company revealed that the round was oversubscribed, an indication of the bullish sentiment for alternative protein solutions amongst investors – especially as global awareness of the link between the animal meat supply chain and emerging zoonotic diseases and climate change continues to grow in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The cultivated meat industry in particular has received an extra boost in attention following the landmark sale of Eat Just’s cultured chicken in Singapore following regulatory approval from authorities in December 2019.
We believe that our technology is an integral part of allowing the cultivated meat market to mature. Our innovative and programmable electro-spun nano-fibre scaffolds which replicate the extracellular matrix of living organisms is backed by 50 awarded and pending patents.Eric Jenkusky, CEO, Matrix Meats
The Ohio-based firm, which was founded as a spin-off from a joint partnership venture between Nanofiber Solutions and the Ikove Startup Nursery Fund, says that the funding will help it expedite its scientific research, manufacturing and ramp up partnerships and strategic relationships within the cultured meat industry. Currently, the company has established active partnerships with 14 cell-based meat producers across 7 countries.
Commenting on the news, Eric Jenkusky, CEO of Matrix Meats, said: “We will be expanding our efforts to assist our client [and] partners with accelerating their path to market.”
“We believe that our technology is an integral part of allowing the cultivated meat market to mature. Our innovative and programmable electro-spun nano-fibre scaffolds which replicate the extracellular matrix of living organisms is backed by 50 awarded and pending patents,” Jenkusky added.
Our technology allows us to control a number of variables in the manufacturing of the scaffolds such as fibre diameter, alignment, porosity, degradation rates as well as the addition of flavour, vitamins, minerals or growth factorsDr. Jed Johnson, Chief Technology Officer, Matrix Meats
Matrix Meats says that its scaffolding solution stands out because its technology enables a high-level of control over a number of factors, from the size of fibres to the nutritional value, which can be customised to suit the needs of its clients.
“Our technology allows us to control a number of variables in the manufacturing of the scaffolds such as fibre diameter, alignment, porosity, degradation rates as well as the addition of flavour, vitamins, minerals or growth factors,” explained Dr. Jed Johnson, chief technology officer of Matrix Meats.
While many startups are still using gelatin-based fibres to develop cultured meat, there has been an emerging cohort of firms stepping up to offer new scaffolding solutions in recent months. Perth-based startup Cass Materials, for instance, has developed an edible biodegradable scaffold out of nata de coco, while Brussels-based Tiamat Sciences is using plant-based molecular farming technology to create a number of recombinant protein ingredients, including enzymes, antibodies, scaffolding and growth factors at a fraction of the price compared to their competitors.
Elsewhere, food scientists have hailed the potential of textured soy protein as a 3D scaffold, finding that the edible byproduct of soybean oil extraction can be harnessed to recreate the texture of a meat bite in lab-grown beef.
Lead image courtesy of iStock.