Sydney-based biotechnology company, Smart MCs, has been awarded AUD$600K by the Australian Government’s Accelerating Commercialisation Grant to revolutionize the bioprocessing industry with its edible microcarriers (MCs) for the emerging cultured meat sector. The company will establish a fully automated edible microcarrier production line with the grant’s funds.
Founded in 2022, Smart MCs focuses on developing efficient and cost-effective methods for the large-scale expansion of cells, with a particular emphasis on cellular agriculture.
The startup was part of Big Idea Ventures’ sixth cohort, which launched with 16 other companies last October. Additionally, it has successfully locked two minimum viable products, closed a pre-seed round, and expanded its team and advisors.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant by the Australian Government, which will allow us to take our microcarrier production to the next level and support the emerging cultured meat industry,” said Payar Radfar, CEO of Smart MCs.
One of the main challenges of cultivating meat is scalability. Cells must attach to a scaffold of microcarriers (a surface) to grow and expand in bioreactors, explains Smart MCs. Microcarriers are critical in bioprocessing for efficient cell growth, allowing for rapid cell expansion. It’s a promising technology for upscaling cultivated meat if the microcarriers are edible.
The recent development of edible microcarriers by Smart MCs made from off-the-shelf food ingredients eliminates the concerns around the non-edibility of carriers, which have been historically used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Rapidly growing demand
With the establishment of a fully automated microcarrier production line, the biotech will increase its production capacity substantially, allowing it to respond to the increasing demand as cultivated meat companies look to expand their product line. It will bring significant change in the bioprocessing industry and enable the scalable production of cultured meat, ultimately accelerating the development of this innovative food technology.
“Our investment in this new facility will not only enable us to meet the rapidly growing demand for our products, but it will also allow us to play a crucial role in the development of this innovative food technology,” added Radfar.