London biotech Hoxton Farms opens first UK pilot facility to produce cell-based fat at scale
UK-based biotech company Hoxton Farms has opened its pilot facility to advance research of its cell-based fat, scale up production and develop prototypes with customers.
The new site is the “UK’s first” pilot production facility for cell-based animal fat and comprises 14,000 square feet, including cell culture laboratories, a food development kitchen, office space and communal areas.
A hardware workshop enables Hoxton Farms to manufacture its own bioreactors, designed to optimise fat cell growth with much lower capital costs than industry-standard bioreactors. The design is based on insights from Hoxton Farm’s own technology platform, which blends computational biology and mathematical modelling. The additional space also provides an opportunity to grow employee headcount from 40 to 100 people.
Hoxton Farms’ tech platform is paramount to the scalability of production and co-development of prototype products alongside early customers and strategic partners, whether food ingredients suppliers and distributors or manufacturers of plant-based meat.
In the new facility, Hoxton Farms’ says its scientists and engineers will be able to increase production capacity to 10 tonnes of cell-based fat each year, with the company on track to reach cost-parity with plant oils at commercial scale.
Max Jamilly, co-founder of Hoxton Farms, said: “It’s no secret that the traditional meat industry is broken, but consumers are disappointed when they seek quality alternatives. But as people turn away from meat because of concerns over health, environmental impact, or animal welfare, flexitarianism is booming. Cultivated fat is the missing ingredient for creating irresistible meat alternatives, unlocking the delicious taste and experience of the real thing without the environmental or ethical impact.”
Ed Steele, co-founder of Hoxton Farms, commented: “By bringing cellular agriculture to the city on a wider scale, rather than a remote business park, we are in the best place possible to find the customers, partners, investors and talent that we need, and to raise awareness of cultivated fat in a market that has shown it is ready for meat alternatives. We’re excited to work closely with industry stakeholders as we seek regulatory approval for our ingredient, and guide the industry towards a tastier, fattier future”.
Jennifer Uhrig, senior managing director at Fine Structure Ventures – which led Hoxton Farm’s £20 million Series A raise in 2022, added: “Hoxton Farms is...unlocking the power of biology to reduce the impact of meat production on animals and the environment, while also adding that much-needed sensory experience for consumers. Hoxton Farms’ ability to optimise cost, scalability and time to market also demonstrates it can deliver a commercially viable product to market incredibly quickly.”