Manufacturing & Technology

Prolific Machines Raises $55M to Offer “Never Before Possible Biosolutions” Including Cultivated Meat Whole Cuts

Emeryville-based Prolific Machines, a US company pioneering the use of light as a tool to grow and control cells in biomanufacturing, has announced it has closed a $55 million Series B1 funding round.

The new capital will help Prolific Machines scale and commercialize its photo molecular biology platform, which it claims can significantly improve the production and lower the costs of bioproducts, including cultivated meat, nutritional and therapeutic proteins, pharmaceuticals, and more.

“I’m excited to see all the different ways our partners will use it”

Ki Tua Fund led the round, bringing the company’s total funding to $86.5 million. Previous investor Breakthrough Energy Ventures and other mission-aligned investors, including Mayfield, SOSV, Shorewind Capital, Darco Capital, Conti Ventures, and In-Q-Tel (IQT), participated.

A scientist using light to grow cells
Image courtesy of Prolific Machines

Deniz Kent, Prolific Machines’ co-founder and CEO, shares, “We have proven that we can successfully control several cellular processes using light. This enables unparalleled control in both the space and the time axes, and this control is critical to making cheaper and higher quality products. I’m excited to see all the different ways our partners will use it. We have only scratched the surface of what’s possible with our technology.”

Light for unprecedented cellular control

Founded in 2020 by Deniz Kent (CEO), Max Huisman (CTO), and Declan Jones (CDO), Prolific Machines emerged from stealth in 2022, saying it was developing breakthrough technology to help cultivated meat reach the mass market. In 2021, while working in silence, it raised $42 million, led by investor Arvind Gupta and Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Prolific Machines argues that current biomanufacturing methods for making food and ingredients with cells are slow, expensive, and inaccurate. To solve this challenge, the Bay Area company has developed a platform for biomanufacturing, harnessing light, bioengineering, hardware, and AI to control and optimize cell performance over time.

A bioreactor by Prolific Machines
Image courtesy of Prolific Machines

Whole cuts of cultivated meat?

The technology, inspired by optogenetics and developed over the past four years, is said to offer new solutions previously thought impossible or, as the company states, “never before possible biosolutions,” potentially leading to more affordable and higher-quality bioproducts. According to the company, examples include whole cuts of cultivated meat, nutritional proteins, antibodies to treat diseases, and higher-fidelity disease models.

Maximilian Hoerner, Prolific Machines’s Head of Optogenetics, highlights the unique potential of using optogenetics outside research labs: “I joined Prolific because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to use the immensely powerful optogenetics tools to bring new and superior bioproducts to life across diverse commercial applications.”

Prolific Machines plans to announce new partnerships, further commercialize its platform in the coming months, and invites interested parties to contact its partnership team.

Komal Mistry-Mehta, Ki Tua Fund’s Director, comments, “Breakthrough innovations like Prolific Machines’ biomanufacturing platform don’t come along often —particularly innovations that have the potential to unlock profound impact in both human and environmental health across multiple industries.”

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