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Quest Meat and Multus partner on £1 million cultivated meat scale-up project

January 9, 2024

UK companies, Quest Meat and Multus, have formed an R&D partnership to co-develop a cell culture ingredients platform for cultivated meat production. With support from world-leading researchers from the Department of Biochemical Engineering at University College London (UCL), the project will deliver CULT-GRO, a technology that enables cultivated meat production scale-up at a fraction of the current cost.

A £1 million (US$1.3 million) investment in the project, co-funded by Innovate UK’s Novel Low Emission Food Production Systems competition, will accelerate the availability of cell culture ingredients, powering industrial-scale cultivated meat production as an alternative to the existing meat industry.

The current global food system – worth US$8 trillion and causing US$12 trillion in negative externalities – is very inefficient (World Bank 2019). If scaled effectively, cultivated meat is expected to increase efficiency of land use by 60-300% for poultry and 2,000-4,000% for beef, addressing issues of environmental impact, biodiversity loss and reducing the risk of zoonotic pandemics (Good Food Institute, 2018).

However, there are still major bottlenecks to scaling cultivated meat. These include replacing bovine serum and ensuring adequate scaffolding for stem cell attachment, growth, and maturation into meat tissue. The project will address these challenges, through a combination of nutrients for cell growth and physical scaffolding that is edible and forms part of the final meat product. Quest Meat will screen formulations in stirred bioreactors. UCL will support with validation studies, testing the formulations in bioreactors based in the state-of-the-art facilities at the Department of Biochemical Engineering.

The partnership will complement and build on both companies’ existing product portfolios, which, for Quest Meat, includes licence-free primary cell banks and fit-for-purpose microcarriers and, for Multus, as an enabling partner for growth media development and supply in the cultivated meat industry.  

“We are delighted to be working with Multus and UCL to develop CULT-GRO for low-cost meat cell culture," commented Ivan Wall, Quest Meat Co-founder & CEO. "Partnerships are critical for solving the big challenges in scaling up cultivated meat. This partnership with Multus, and with support from a world-leading university, will create a low-cost solution that helps our customers increase yields whilst driving down costs, which in turn will speed up the availability of cultivated meat products in supermarkets.”

“It’s fantastic to be Quest Meat’s growth media partner of choice to demonstrate that cultivated meat can be affordable using food-grade input materials," added Multus Co-founder & CEO, Cai Linton. "Collaboration is crucial for overcoming the bottlenecks around scaling cultivated meat and cutting key costs. This project will accelerate the process of getting cultivated meat products from research to market and driving the crucial sustainable transition of the global food system. “

“Our team at UCL is incredibly excited to be a part of such a collaborative and multi-disciplinary project that will address some of the current challenges that the cultivated meat industry is facing: cost and scalability," said Petra Hanga, Assistant Professor at UCL and Quest Meat Co-founder & CSO. "Together, we are an exceptional team that brings expertise from multiple fronts and combines it to make a unique product to support the industry: CULT-GRO."

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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