A new company, Omeat, is the latest entrant into the cultivated meat market. Omeat is the first spinout company from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI), a non-profit research organization located in Los Angeles, CA, that hopes to find solutions to critical health and environmental challenges.
Omeat says they are an organization dedicated to technology for the sustainable production of beef and other meats on a global scale. It produces the meat using cost-effective, humane, and efficient methods to collect regenerative factors for cell cultivation from healthy, living cows. The company’s first product is ground beef.
The Omeat technology was initially conceived and developed by TIBI scientists four years ago. According to the company’s website, its approach includes a process that uses plasma from donor animals to support the growth of a small tissue sample. This relieves the need for fetal bovine serum or artificially-engineered growth factors.
The company said its process starts with the collection of a sample of beef cells and plasma, from one of their cows, which go in a cultivator for cell growth. The cells form into muscle tissue, growing in nutrients and natural growth factors from the plasma. Omeat noted that it takes about a week to have product ready for packaging.
TIBI leveraged their expertise in tissue engineering and cell culturing techniques to develop the cultivated meat technology at Omeat. These include unique microcarriers for differentiating cell cultures and using an alternative to fetal bovine serum in their growth media.
These innovations address some of the challenges faced in standard beef production, which, in its current form, is highly detrimental to the environment. Studies have shown that alternative meat sources, such as meat cultivated from animal cells, produce 92% less global warming, 93% less air pollution, and use up to 95% less land and 78% less water than with conventional meat production methods.
Omeat has also established a sustainably maintained farm with herds of free-range cows as the biological source for their meat production, reducing their environmental footprint even further. They are also working to improve scalability to cut costs and minimize resources as they bring products to market.
The Omeat technology can produce any type of meat, such as pork, chicken, or fish, and it can also be established at already existing farms and ranches as well.
And TIBI does not plan on stopping at Omeat. “With our multiple research platforms at TIBI,” noted Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, director and CEO of TIBI, “we hope to bring about additional spinout companies that address the biggest healthcare and environmental challenges.”
Omeat is currently building a pilot plant and expanding its team toward commercial readiness. In addition, they are in conversation with the FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) toward regulatory approval.