Atelier Meats is a biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing lab-grown meats. The company’s accomplishments cover significant operational and corporate milestones, including increasing the intellectual property portfolio, strengthening the balance sheet, and increasing scientific breadth through world-class partnerships. In addition, Atelier Meats has an accomplished senior management team to guide the company’s future development and commercialization efforts.
Corporate and Industry Overview:
Interest in lab-grown or cultured meat has been on the rise in recent years, not only as a viable alternative to farmed meat but also as a solution for climate change and animal welfare. By harnessing advanced biotechnology, tissue engineering, and process development, Atelier Meats is developing proprietary technology and processes for producing cultured meat that replicates the flavor and taste of the traditional product. Composed of a world-class team, the company strives to produce a healthier and environmentally conscious protein source for the world without harming animals.
The cultured meat market is forecasted to grow significantly over the next several years. It is estimated to reach US$2.78 billion by 2030. This growth is attributable to several factors, including increasing investor interest, investments/acquisitions by high-profile food companies, innovations in cellular agriculture, rising concerns toward animal welfare, public health risks associated with animal meats, and environmental sustainability.
Due to health and technological advances and environmental solutions, the cultured meat market is expected to increase and intersect with the agricultural meat market. As a result, the global meat market (raw and processed) was valued at US$2308.61 billion and is expected to reach over US$2960 billion by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of over 4.34% through 2026.
Rising meat consumption (due partly to a growing population and increasing demand for nutritional protein sources) is expected to support the overall meat market growth forecasts. Furthermore, it is anticipated that this growing trend of protein consumption will present several opportunities for various meat processors and food companies to fulfill consumer demand. This is evidenced by leading food processing companies such as Cargill Incorporated and Tyson Foods Inc. investing in cultured meat companies.
The cultured meat industry has also seen significant press and media attention, with several high-profile celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher investing in lab-grown meat companies. In addition, cultured meat has been highlighted by CNBC and included in a cover story in the New York Times. Following suit, Atelier Meats has received significant attention, including a recent focus by Forbes and a segment appearing on NBC.
The company completed a merger with Future Burger Corp. on July 28, 2022. The combined entity reflects the ongoing evolution of the food-tech sector by incorporating IP-backed science and a revenue-generating business plan. In addition, the combined entity provides the company with a strengthened balance sheet and shareholder base, which will assist the company in obtaining a listing on a public stock exchange in North America. The company plans to launch a Series B financing in Q4 2022 to fund its commercialization initiatives.
Scientific Developments and Operations
Atelier Meats believes that creating a quality cultured meat product relies on the utilization of a well-defined “biological scaffold” on which to grow the cells that make the meat. Atelier’s scaffold technology is unique and represents a critical differentiating factor compared with other companies. To further its technology, Atelier Meats has focused on several key strategies:
- Growing its intellectual property portfolio;
- Partnering with leading institutions and researchers to further its technologies; and
- Being at the forefront of developing technologies for large-scale commercial production of cultured meat.
Atelier filed its first provisional patent application in November 2021, focussing on its unique scaffold technology. Then, the company quickly followed that application by filing a second provisional patent in December 2021, which protects vital processes concerning the stem cells used for producing its meats. Building and protecting the company’s intellectual property portfolio is paramount as Atelier continues to develop its cutting-edge technologies surrounding the stem cells used for meat production and the unique scaffold technology.
On March 7, 2022, the company announced that it entered into a multi-year and multi-disciplinary collaborative research and development agreement with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (“Rutgers”), to help develop Atelier’s proprietary technology to manufacture lab-grown or cultured meats. The principal investigators at Rutgers leading the research are Joseph Freeman, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s School of Engineering, and Yong Mao, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers-New Brunswick School of Arts and Sciences. Readers can find the full bios for Dr. Freeman and Dr. Mao here.
In general, the research effort will focus on:
- Isolating a unique extracellular matrix that would serve as the scaffold for cultured meat;
- Developing novel and proprietary lines of bovine stem cells that are easily culture-expanded and differentiated; and
- Developing technology to populate the scaffold with cells to create cultured meats.
The company has achieved several critical technological developments to expand its proposed cell lines, including pork products and beef as well as:
- A process for the isolation of a bovine collagen-based scaffold;
- A preliminary scalable process and associated analytics to manufacture the bovine scaffold; and
- Isolating bovine stem cells that have been characterized for their “stemness” attributes, both functional and physical.
Atelier Meats has assembled a seasoned team of senior executives, leading scientists and critical strategic advisers to build the company. The company is led by its co-founders, Dr. Mohit Bhatia and Maghsoud Dariani.
Dr. Mohit Bhatia, co-founder and Chief Science Officer (CSO), is a thought leader and widely known as one of the top biomaterials scientists in the sector. He leads the company’s efforts to advance and expand its technology portfolio and will also play an integral role in overseeing and building collaborations with R&D partners.
Dr. Bhatia previously worked with Celgene Corporation for approximately 20 years. He has served in various capacities in leadership roles in placenta-based biomaterials, ECM scaffolds and stem cells for more than 15 years. Dr. Bhatia was responsible for developing several placenta-based products, including injectable collagen, an extracellular matrix and two commercial products – BIOVANCE, an amniotic membrane product and INTERFYL, a connective tissue matrix. He used both for wound management. In addition, he holds several patents for placental biomaterials and has published numerous papers and presented at leading conferences for tissue-based therapies.
Dr. Bhatia received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from New York University. He completed his post-doctoral training at Rockefeller University in New York and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.
Maghsoud Dariani, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), has over 40 years of diverse and progressive management experience in developing, scaling, and commercializing pharmaceutical and food products. He is also the current President and CEO of Semorex Inc., a privately held company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics for cancer. Before joining Semorex, Mr. Dariani was President of Focus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he managed the development and approval of drug products, achieving an FDA approval and bringing another to the clinical evaluation stage. He then successfully negotiated the sale of the company in February 2003. Before Focus, Maghsoud was Vice President of the chiral pharmaceutical business unit at Celgene Corporation. During his twelve years at Celgene, he was responsible for the successful development and FDA approval of the chirally pure versions of Ritalin, which Novartis currently markets under the Focalin and Focalin XR trade names.
Maghsoud holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from The City College of New York and a Masters of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.
Through the partnership with Rutgers, the company anticipates completing the prototype of its scaffold technology in Q4 2022. Atelier plans to demonstrate that by using the same species as the growth cells, their scaffold will result in better cell attachment and organization when compared to its competitors. Many of these other companies use synthetic or gelatin cells as their scaffolds, which will be less effective in eliciting a cellular response.
In summary, management believes the balance of 2022 and 2023 will bring exciting developments as the company builds on the foundation of its recent accomplishments. Atelier Meats is committed to creating a healthier and environmentally conscious protein source for the world. The company believes it has built a solid foundation and strategy that incorporates strong partnerships with recognized industry leaders, a world-class team, and a growing intellectual property portfolio, all supported by a solid capital markets strategy to propel future growth.
About Atelier Meats Corp.
Atelier is a biotechnology company dedicated to developing quality, lab-grown meats. Led by a world-class team with proprietary patent-pending technology, Atelier’s mission is to produce healthier and environmentally conscious proteins for the world – without harming a single animal.