Roslin Tech aligns with COP26 methane challenge with £1m Government funding

Roslin Technologies, a Scottish biotech company, has been awarded a major grant to develop its technology for cultivated meat – meat grown directly from animal cells without the need to raise animals.

The grant is part of a UK government drive to make food production more sustainable, highlights the transformative potential of cultivated meat and recognises Roslin Technologies’ leading capability in the space.

The £1m is split between a grant from the Government’s innovation support body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), under the Transforming Food Production programme, and investment led by the British Innovation Fund.

The money will be invested in a programme to further develop and commercialise the company’s ground-breaking pluripotent stem cell lines to help food companies around the world produce cultivated meat and improve the sustainability of meat production. Roslin Technologies, which has pig cell lines on offer for cultivated meat producers, will use the investment to further optimise the pig cell lines and develop new cell lines from cattle and sheep.

The announcement comes amid the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, where EU and US leaders this week announced plans to lower emissions of greenhouse gas methane. Animal rearing is a significant contributor to methane released into the atmosphere and the increased use of cultivated meat could help reduce emissions.

The Transforming Food Production programme is part of UKRI’s plans to help steer food production towards net zero emissions by 2040 by making it more efficient, resilient and sustainable. Demand for protein alternatives to meat has grown considerably recently, in part due to concerns about the environmental impact of traditional farming and as people try to reduce their red meat intake. Cultivated meat as a result is getting significant attention, attracting more than $1 billion in investments in recent years.

Roslin Technologies is using its advanced cell technology to work with partners around the world to enable cultivated meat to reach consumer markets faster. While the technology is developing rapidly in this area, production costs are still very high and not optimised for large scale production. Roslin Technologies’ cells have been shown to replicate indefinitely and without the deterioration that other cell types demonstrate, thereby making them very suitable for large scale, and more efficient production.

Roslin Technologies plans to use this investment as a springboard for its series A investment round commencing October 2021 which will help fund the next wave of innovation in cells for the industry.

Commenting on the news, programme coordinator and Roslin Technologies’ Chief Scientific Officer Prof. Jacqui Matthews said “Roslin Tech is at the stage of turning its ground-breaking stem cell innovations into a commercially exploitable proposition for the global cultivated meat sector. We are delighted that UK government has recognised us as a British world leader in this area and support us in our vision to make cultivated meat affordable and available around the world.”