Cultivated Meat

UK: Extracellular Launches Licence-Free Cell Banks to Support Cultivated Meat Research

UK CDMO Extracellular announces the launch of new low-cost cell banks — free from licensing or commercial restrictions — intended for early-stage cultivated meat companies and researchers.

The cell banks offer high-quality cow, pig, and sheep primary cells isolated from fat, muscle, and bone marrow tissues. They were developed through a collaborative project with the British biotechnology company Multus.

Backed by the Good Food Institute and New Harvest, the cell bank project received InnovateUK funds to advance cultivated meat research. Last April, the UK government announced a £12 million investment into a new initiative to advance cultivated meat (called CARMA) to help the country lead the world in delivering secure food supplies.

Extracellular secures investment for accelerating biomanufacturing of cultivated meat
Image courtesy of Extracellular

Cell banks without restrictions

Will Milligan, co-founder and CEO of Extracellular, said: “Primary cells are the building blocks for cultivated meat research, but good cells are too hard to access for many researchers in industry and academia. By bringing our cell banks to market, we hope more researchers can develop new cell lines, media formulations, processes, and technologies, without restrictions from licensing or commercial agreements.”

According to Extracellular, primary cells for cultivated meat research are expensive and don’t guarantee quality, performance, or provenance. Moreover, their use is usually limited or restricted, limiting possible technologies and approaches.

But the newly developed banks, besides being up to 90% cheaper than existing banks, offer information on the cells’ provenance, from the age, breed, and sex of the animal, said the CDMO.

Extracellular worked with local farmers and the University of Bristol’s Veterinary School to obtain tissue samples. Multus provided protocols and key materials to de-risk the cell bank project in addition to independent quality control for cell identification, cryopreservation, and growth characterization.

© Multus Biotechnology

Driving the industry forward

Last March, Extracellular announced it had secured funding from various investors, bringing its total of raised funds to over $1.9 million. The company offers services to support the developing, manufacturing, and further commercial requirements of any cellular agriculture-derived product. It operates 200L bioreactors at its research labs at Science Creates in Bristol, and has plans to expand its capacity.

Multus announced, in January, a £7.9 million funding round for the “first-of-its-kind” facility to produce food-safe, animal-free growth media for the cultivated meat industry. According to Multus, animal-free growth media is necessary for the affordable scale-up of cultivated meat.

Cai Linton, CEO of Multus, said: “I am excited to see the impact that this collaboration with Extracellular will have on the cultivated meat industry in the UK. Multus looks forward to working with academic researchers and cultivated meat companies to develop innovative technologies that will drive this industry forward using the cell bank as an enabling resource.”

Extracellular announced plans to develop more animal species and tissues in the future. The cell banks will be available from July 2023. 

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