Uncommon raises $30m to scale cell-based meat production
UK-based start-up Uncommon – formerly Higher Steaks – has raised $30 million in Series A funding, led by Balderton Capital and Lowercarbon.
The funding includes participation from Red Alpine and East Alpha will be used to further develop Uncommon’s novel approach, scale-up production at its pilot manufacturing facility in Cambridge, UK, and begin the regulatory approvals process for its cell-based pork.
Founded by Benjamina Bollag and Ruth Faram, Uncommon leverages RNA, the molecule that contains the chemical instructions that direct cells’ natural machinery into making a protein, to create delicious cultivated bacon and pork belly from animal cells.
Bollag said: “Uncommon [is] a biocreation company that uses the power of cells to tackle the most pressing challenges to our health, starting with cultivated pork. As the only cultivated meat leveraging RNA technologies, we believe we have a competitive advantage that could help us become the largest protein company in the world.”
The company says that its unique approach enables it to “more quickly reach price parity with conventional meat, scale faster and create safer, healthier products without the use of gene editing,” which it says will open up a wider global market than its competitors.
Uncommon’s extensive research used insights to build complex proteins and fats that possess “authentic flavour” and nutritional benefits. This technology does not require the need for antibiotics, animal products or toxic small molecules, and reduces the raw materials needed for alt-protein production.
In a statement, the company said: “With over a third of the world’s total antibiotics used solely on pigs in China, and antibiotic resistance predicted to kill more people than cancer by 2050, cultivated meat offers a sustainable solution”.
Daniel Waterhouse, partner at Balderton Capital, commented: “The cultivated meat industry faces significant challenges, from the cost of materials to regulation and scaling. We’re convinced that Uncommon has the formula to become a global leader that will transform how we eat and enjoy meat.”
Clea Kolster, partner at Lowercarbon, added: “The meat industry is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions globally and industrial production is also tied to infectious diseases like swine fever and bird flu. Uncommon is on a mission to build a healthier future by leveraging RNA technologies to create cultivated pork belly and bacon, which could produce up to 52% fewer carbon emissions per pound than traditional pork.”