Krijn de Nood, 13th September 2021

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants to Scale Walls

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” — Sir Isaac Newton, 1675

I love the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants. It’s a metaphor that literally means that we take the understanding gained by the thought leaders that came before us and use it to make more intellectual progress.

Standing on others’ shoulders doesn’t make great achievements any less impressive; rather, it makes them even more so. It reinforces that paradigm-shifting ideas are worth pursuing and are always the result of collaborations that transcend not only disciplines but eras.

At Meatable, we have a daunting task: to bring sustainable, humanely and efficiently produced meat to the world. Our first challenge has been to produce pure, high-quality protein and fat cells in proportions that emulate traditional cuts of meat both quickly and consistently. We’ve been able to do so through our exclusive access to Dr. Mark Kotter’s opti-ox technology.

One wall scaled, we’re now facing the next: scaling our process and making it affordable so that everyone can enjoy our meat while at the same time making a lasting impact toward mitigating climate change. And just as we stood on the shoulders of Dr. Mark Kotter’s technology to begin making meat, we’ll stand on the shoulders of another giant to bring people guilt-free meat.

Improving what’s already perfect

People love meat. Even in a world where vegetarianism is at an all-time high, the global demand for meat is still growing. Yet it’s harder and harder to ignore all of the problems associated with the way we produce meat today. Until now, the popular belief was that we’d have to replace meat altogether with plant-based alternatives, which are actually a great option. But many people are just not ready to give up on meat altogether, for personal and health reasons alike.

As our knowledge of biology and technology has progressed, we’ve actually learned how to replicate the natural process of growing meat — the growth of muscle and fat cells — in the laboratory, without the need for an animal to suffer. Actual meat without slaughtering animals? Yes please!

But I would be remiss to make it sound so simple. Indeed, we understand the biology, but replicating it in the laboratory isn’t an easy task. And while we’ve addressed some of the biggest challenges around coaxing cells to turn into protein and fat cells with Dr. Mark Kotter’s opti-ox technology, the biology itself isn’t the only challenge. There’s a reason why lab-grown hamburgers aren’t available at McDonald’s yet even though the first lab-grown burger was created in 2013.

It’s one thing to get muscle and fat cells to grow in the laboratory. It’s another thing to do it at scale, and to do it affordably. Successfully achieving both requires know-how in scaling, trouble-shooting, and reducing costs in every possible way without sacrificing quality.

Fortunately, there is a company that is an expert in biotechnology and biomanufacturing at industrial scale. In process optimization and cost reduction. A Giant, you might say.

That company is DSM. With over 150 years of history, DSM has already developed an extensive portfolio of sustainable, bio-based solutions that allow us to feed a growing population more sustainably, while supporting with reducing food loss & waste, fighting climate change, avoiding natural resource depletion and preserving biodiversity. They are a global leader in biotechnology and know better than anyone how to scale up fermentation processes, resulting in better and more consistent quality at lower costs. Their partnerships span a wide range of industries, from foods and beverages to personal care, but they all have one thing in common: they provide science-based solutions for better health through nutrition, and address global societal challenges.

Because of this, DSM has been a true leader in sustainability for over a decade. They are as committed as we are to making our food systems more sustainable, which makes them a perfect partner for Meatable. And that is why I am so excited that we’ll be partnering with DSM to eventually bring our products to market.

An idea worth believing in

This partnership is exciting for two reasons. First, it means that we can reach our goal much faster. As a company, we were in this for the long haul – and we still are. But that long haul has just become a bit easier. Our expertise and technology combined with DSM’s century of knowledge and global networks has the potential to make cultured meat a reality even faster. And that’s good news for all: people, planet and animals.

Our partnership with DSM also demonstrates that industry giants recognize Meatable as the company to bring cultivated meat to market. Much like our investors, DSM sees that we have the expertise and potential to deliver high quality, affordable, cultivated meat to consumers. But it’s more than our expertise — it’s our passion and purpose, and it’s the idea we’re pursuing. If DSM puts their money on an idea, it’s because they believe in the idea. And it’s an idea worth believing in.

For far too long we’ve been imagining: imagining a cleaner world, imagining a world where no one experiences hunger, imagining a world where animal cruelty doesn’t exist. We are on the precipice that separates us from imagining and doing, and that’s so incredibly exciting. We are not going to read about the history of a groundbreaking innovation and how it happened, we are making it happen.

And I don’t know about you, but that alone makes all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it. We’re standing on the shoulders of giants to scale insurmountable walls. I’ll see you on the other side.

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