Investments & Finance

Innocent Meat Raises €3M for Automated “Plug-and-Produce” Solution for Cultivated Meat

Innocent Meat, a startup pioneering the production of cultivated meat in Germany, announces that it has secured €3 million in financing despite the “challenging market environment.”

Anchor investor Venture Capital Fonds MV supported the startup with €500 thousand, and a new undisclosed private investor invested €2.5 million. 

In 2020, Laura Gertenbach and Patrick Nonnenmache co-founded Innocent Meat with the goal of transforming meat production through cell-based methods. The company is working on creating an automated plug-and-produce solution for cultivated meat to help meat producers transition to this innovative technology.

With the fresh capital, the startup will further develop the existing biocomponents, scale up its pilot plant, and initiate the necessary certification processes.

Innocent Meat's plug and produce method for cultivated meat
Innocent Meat’s plug and produce method © Innocent Meat

Stem cells and FBS-free serum

Innocent Meat’s model will offer food producers access to growth media, cell lines, scaffolding, and manufacturing hardware such as bioreactors and filtration systems. This equipment will allow clients to effectively oversee the production process, guaranteeing safety and efficiency in developing cultivated meat products.

On the path to creating its production model, Innocent Meat has established a platform utilizing stem cells capable of differentiating into muscle and fat tissue to mimic animal meat. To grow these cells without fetal bovine serum (FBS), the startup has formulated its first serum-free proliferation medium for porcine primary muscle cells in cultivated pork.

Innocent’s growth media incorporates growth factors developed by the startup with the University of Rostock via FABA.BIO, a large-scale recombinant animal protein platform. According to Innocent Meat, by utilizing Fabaceae plants as expression platforms or bioreactors, the company can reduce costs and increase scalability compared to traditional methods using animals or microbes. 

Innocent Meat's team posing for a photo
© Innocent Meat

Driving forward cultivated meat

Innocent Meat operates a facility within the University of Rostock, where it has access to world-class researchers and scientists who can support the company’s mission to produce sustainable and slaughter-free meat.

It has a team of 9 employees and various patents pending. Innocent Meat explains that it has expanded from a lab scale to a perfusion bioprocess, allowing a cost-efficient continuous method. In addition to the newly raised capital, the company has secured more than €1 million from other funding projects.

“I am extremely proud of the team that Patrick and I have been able to build up over the past few years and with whose help we are continuing to drive forward our version of sustainable meat production,” said Gertenbach.

“Cultured meat still has some challenges to overcome, but I am confident that with our solution we can make a significant contribution to solving the pressing issue of providing a growing world population with a safe, affordable and sustainable supply of meat.”

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