SAN FRANCISCO — “Test-tube” beef is moving beyond the lab. Memphis Meats, a company founded by three scientists, is working to become the first company to sell meat grown from animal stem cells. The company will debut Feb. 4 when the founders present to investors at Indie Bio, a biotech accelerator created by venture capital firm SOS Ventures.
Memphis Meats says it is already growing meat in small quantities using cells from cows, pigs and chickens. The company’s founders expect to have products ready to market — including hot dogs, sausages, burgers and meatballs — in less than five years. Memphis Meats said the company is closing in on a $2 million seed round of venture capital funds in addition to initial accelerator funding from SOS Ventures.
Memphis Meats plans to produce a calorie of meat from just 3 calories in inputs, instead of the typical 23 calories in feed it takes to generate 1 calorie from beef. The company’s products also “will be free of antibiotics, fecal matter, pathogens, and other contaminants found in conventional meat.”
|Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and c.e.o. of Memphis Meats|
“This is absolutely the future of meat,” said Uma Valeti, M.D., co-founder and chief executive officer of Memphis Meats. “We plan to do to the meat industry what the car did to the horse and buggy. Cultured meat will completely replace the status quo and make raising animals to eat them simply unthinkable.”
Mr. Valeti is a Mayo Clinic-trained cardiologist, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, and the president of the Twin Cities American Heart Association. He founded Memphis Meats with Nicholas Genovese, Ph.D., a stem cell biologist, and Will Clem, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer who owns a chain of barbecue restaurants in Memphis.Memphis Meats, along with Modern Meadow Inc. and Mosa Meat, aim to become the first to bring cultured beef to consumers. Mosa Meats was co-founded by Mark Post, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of physiology and vice dean of biomedical technology at Maastricht University, The Netherlands, who organized the first public tasting of a lab-grown hamburger in 2013. Mr. Post discussed the technology during the 2015 Institute of Food Technologists meeting and exposition. Google co-founder Sergei Brin provided $330,000 to create the burger.