BioBetter utilizes tobacco plants as bioreactors to produce growth factors, aiming to make cultivated meat more affordable and sustainable.
Alt Protein Biotech Food Tech

BioBetter: Turning Tobacco into Sustainable Meat’s Future

BioBetter Ltd., an innovative FoodTech start-up, opens its debut food-grade pilot facility. The pioneering platform leverages tobacco plants as bioreactors to rapidly produce pivotal growth factors (GFs) for the burgeoning cultivated meat industry.

One of the most pronounced barriers facing the cultivated meat market is the lofty production expenses, rendering it a challenge to compete price-wise with traditional meat sources. BioBetter seeks to bring affordability and broader accessibility to this arena. “The high cost of the growth medium is a primary factor making cultivated meat pricier than its conventional counterpart,” says Amit Yaari, Ph.D., BioBetter’s CEO. The company aims to slash production costs of key growth factors by a staggering 100-fold.

BioBetter’s first year alone has seen the achievement of:
  • Scaling production and initiating a pilot plan.
  • Advancing commercial cultivation of tobacco plants expressing insulin and FGF.
  • Attaining growth factor expression levels that substantively trim down production expenditures.
  • Making meaningful headway regarding regulatory approvals with the Israel Ministry of Health.
  • Partnering with leading cultivated meat industry players.

By tapping into the potential of tobacco plants, BioBetter has established an efficient, eco-friendly bioreactor for GF production. These factors are pivotal for the multiplication and differentiation of cultured meat cells. The company’s innovative system for plant growth ensures both environmental safety and top-notch efficiency, ruling out any possibility of cross-contamination or accidental consumption.

BioBetter stands out for its holistic approach, mirroring its dedication to safety, environmental responsibility, and streamlined regulatory processes. Dana Yarden, M.D., co-founder, sheds light on the company’s green initiatives, including water recycling, minimized fertilizer use, and emission reduction. BioBetter’s recent progress signals a promising trajectory for the cultivated meat sector. As Aviv Oren from the Good Food Institute points out, the capability to produce at the correct cost remains a formidable challenge. However, BioBetter’s molecular farming of food-grade growth factors might be the key to propelling the industry forward.

Last year, BioBetter secured a robust $10 million investment, underscoring the confidence of stakeholders in its approach. Furthermore, its Israeli Cultivated Meat Consortium membership speaks volumes about its collaborative ethos. BioBetter’s remarkable journey from an innovative idea to a trailblazing start-up offers a glimmer of hope for the future of meat consumption. As they break new ground, the world will keenly watch and enjoy more sustainable, affordable, and ethical meat products on their dinner tables.

Image provided by BioBetter

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