July 12, 2024
Biotech startup opens UK's first pilot facility for cultivated animal fat

Hoxton Farms, a London-based biotech startup, has opened today the UK’s first pilot production facility for cultivated animal fat.

Launched in 2020, the company combines cell biology and mathematical modelling to produce cultivated fat from pig and cow stem cells as an ingredient for plant-based meat. Its targets food ingredient suppliers, distributors, and manufacturers of meat alternatives.

According to the startup, optimised taste isn’t its sole advantage. Cultivated fat also requires less water, less land, and less energy than intensive agriculture — all without harming animals.

“It’s no secret that the traditional meat industry is broken, but consumers are disappointed when they seek quality alternatives,” said Max Jamilly, co-founder of Hoxton Farms. “But as people turn away from meat because of concerns over health, environmental impact, or animal welfare, flexitarianism is booming.”

Cultivated animal fat is “the missing ingredient,” Jamilly added, both in terms of taste and of environmental and ethical impact.

The pilot facility key to scaling up

Hoxton Farms’ London facility will enable it to advance research, develop prototypes with customers, and scale up production. Specifically, the team expects to increase production capacity to 10 tonnes of cultivated fat each year, on track to achieve cost-parity with plant oils at commercial scale.

The facility also includes a hardware workshop, where Hoxton Farms will manufacture its own bioreactors, designed to enhance fat cell growth with lower capital. Meanwhile, the additional space can help realise employee growth from 40 to 100 people.

“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,” said co-founder Ed Steele.

The pilot facility follows a £20mm Series A funding round in October 2022, led by Collaborative Fund and Fine Structure Ventures, and represents a significant step for Hoxton Farms as it seeks regulatory approval for its ingredient.

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