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Tyson Ventures investing in Future Meat Technologies

Lab-grown meat entity first to produce fat that offers mouth-watering flavor and aroma.

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Tyson Ventures investing in Future Meat Technologies

Future Meat Technologies, a Jerusalem, Israel-based biotechnology company advancing a distributive manufacturing platform for the cost-efficient, non-genetically modified organism (GMO) production of meat directly from animal cells, has announced a $2.2 million seed investment round co-led by Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods.

Future Meat Technologies focuses on developing a new generation of manufacturing technology that enables the cost-efficient production of fat and muscle cells -- the core building blocks of meat.

"It is difficult to imagine cultured meat becoming a reality with a current production price of about $10,000/kg," said professor Yaakov Nahmias, the company's founder and chief scientist. "We redesigned the manufacturing process until we brought it down to $800/kg today, with a clear roadmap to $5-10/kg by 2020."

Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer for Tyson Foods, said, "This is our first investment in an Israel-based company, and we're excited about this opportunity to broaden our exposure to innovative new ways of producing protein. We continue to invest significantly in our traditional meat business but also believe in exploring additional opportunities for growth that give consumers more choices."

Animal fat produces the unique aroma and flavor of meat that "makes our mouth water," Nahmias said, noting that Future Meat Technologies is now the only company that can produce this fat without harvesting animals and without any genetic modification. "I want my children to eat meat that is delicious, sustainable and safe," Nahmias said. "This is our commitment to future generations."

Rom Kshuk, chief executive officer of Future Meat Technologies, said global demand for protein and meat is growing at a rapid pace, with an estimated worldwide market of more than a trillion dollars, including explosive growth in China.

“We believe that making a healthy, non-GMO product that can meet this demand is an essential part of our mission,” Kshuk said.

Cultured meat production may also be more eco-friendly than traditional meat production, he said, emphasizing, "We want to feed the world while protecting the environment."

Future Meat Technologies expects to use the funds to establish its engineering activities and increase its biological research. The company is currently recruiting engineers, chefs and scientists. Its technology is based on Nahmias' research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is licensed through Yissum.

Dr. Yaron Daniely, president and CEO of Yissum, noted that Israel is a leader in cultured meat technologies. "Hebrew University, home to Israel's only Faculty of Agriculture, specializes in incubating applied research in such fields as animal-free meat sources. Future Meat Technologies' innovations are revolutionizing the sector and leading the way in creating sustainable alternative protein sources."

In addition to Tyson Ventures, other companies participating in this round were: the Neto Group, one of the largest food conglomerates in Israel; S2G Ventures, a Chicago, Ill.-based venture capital fund; BitsXBites, China's first food technology venture capital fund; Agrinnovation, an Israeli investment fund founded by Yissum, and the Technology Transfer Co. of The Hebrew University. New York-based HB Ventures also joined the round.

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