Expands tech prowess with Revo Foods cofounder and chief scientist Dr. Theresa Rothenbücher
VIENNA, Austria – May 23, 2023 – Because Animals, the first biotech company to develop cultured meat for the pet food market, announced today it has rebranded the company as BioCraft Pet Nutrition as it shifts to working directly with pet food manufacturers interested in supply-chain stable, high-quality, sustainable, safe, humane cultured meat.
The name change follows BioCraft’s decision to dedicate its resources solely to the commercialization of cultured meat including R&D, infrastructure, and collaborative relationships. In late 2022, the company discontinued its plant-based products marketed under the Because Animals brand, divesting from those formulations and provisional patents, while retaining all intellectual property relating to cultured meat.
BioCraft is building partnerships with leading pet food manufacturers interested in adding cultured meat to their product lines. BioCrafted meat offers pet food companies a more uniform raw material that is significantly less likely to carry any pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, and other common fecal-borne bacteria that lead to costly recalls.
To accelerate product development, BioCraft has appointed Dr. Theresa Rothenbücher its chief product officer. Rothenbücher is the cofounder and former chief scientific officer of Revo Foods, an innovator in high-precision 3D food-printing technology, and holds a doctorate in molecular biology/tissue engineering and an MSc in molecular and applied biotechnology. Her background in stem cell-based tissue engineering and food technology innovation, and experience as an entrepreneur introducing products to the European market, boosts BioCraft’s technical and commercial reach.
“As we intensified our focus on developing cultured meat for pet food manufacturers, and built up our scientific efforts, it was appropriate to claim a new identity that signals the state of the art in pet nutrition,” said BioCraft founder and CEO Dr. Shannon Falconer. “Bringing in Theresa’s experience in tissue engineering and product development multiplies our strengths, and puts us on the path to becoming the leading provider of cultured meat for the pet food supply chain.”
Rothenbücher joins Dr. Chai Molina, chief computational officer, who has led BioCraft’s mathematical modeling and AI initiatives since joining the company in 2022. Molina holds a PhD in Mathematics, and an MSc in theoretical and mathematical biology. His doctoral work in mathematical modeling of biological systems was recognized with a prestigious award by the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society, and he subsequently worked as a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.
BioCraft’s team also includes COO Jonny Cruz, a veteran of the pet food industry with more than ten years of experience in sales, marketing, operations, distribution, and supply chain systems. In addition to working for large pet food brands, he cofounded and served as CEO of All Things Pet, an industry sales and marketing consultancy representing 14 brands including multinationals.
BioCraft’s meat contains no chemical and bacterial contaminants, antibiotics, pentobarbital (a euthanizing drug), steroids, or other hormones, and is not produced using genetic engineering/GMOs. BioCrafted meats are nutritionally robust, with all required protein, key vitamins, fats and amino acids such as taurine—a nutrient typically lost during high-heat processing of meat slurry, then added back in synthetic form for nutritionally complete pet foods.
BioCraft grows meat from proprietary cell lines in a controlled and pathogen-free environment surrounded by a liquid medium of vitamins and minerals formulated without fetal bovine serum (FBS), a process ingredient inhumanely obtained from the slaughter of pregnant cows that has been commonly used to produce other cell-based meats.
BioCraft’s cultured meat is formulated with a similar consistency as the “meat slurry” used in conventional pet food manufacturing, so it can be used as a one-to-one replacement in wet or dry foods, treats, and fresh pet foods.
Conventional meat production—for pets and people—has devastating consequences, including climate change, animal cruelty and risks to public health. Animals are fed diets laden with antibiotics, a primary contributor to antibiotic resistance in humans and pets, and hormonal steroids to accelerate their growth. The intensive confinement of animals to slaughter for meat is contributing to air and water pollution, deforestation, desertification and ocean dead zones, while also promoting deadly outbreaks and zoonotic diseases. More than 25 percent of the environmental impact of animal agriculture is attributed to feeding pets in the U.S. alone: if cats and dogs occupied their own country, they would be the world’s fifth largest meat-consuming nation.
BioCraft Pet Nutrition, founded in 2016, is the first and only biotech company to create meat-based pet food that doesn’t come at the expense of slaughtering other animals. In 2021, BioCraft introduced the first cultured meat product for the pet trade—cat treats made from mouse cells—a milestone for the company and the entire industry. BioCraft was also the first to create a proprietary growth medium as an alternative to fetal bovine serum (FBS), helping reduce production costs by well over an order of magnitude and representing a key step towards commercial scale. Today, the BioCraft team includes a roster of PhD scientists, a veterinarian, and serial entrepreneurs, all focused on taking animals out of the supply chain by producing the healthiest, most environmentally sustainable and supply-chain stable meat for dogs and cats. BioCraft is located in both North America and Europe, with R&D performed via its subsidiary company, BioCraft Pet Nutrition GmbH in Austria. BioCraft investors include Draper Associates, SOSV, KEEN Growth Capital, Orkla Food Ingredients, Sentient Investment, Hack Capital and angel investors. BioCraft Pet Nutrition GmbH is a recipient of grant funding from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). For more information visit https://biocraftpet.com.