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Lab-Grown Meat Company Uncommon Raises $30 Million from OpenAI's Sam Altman and Others

Published on
Jun 9, 2023
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Uncommon, formerly known as Higher Steaks, has announced a significant $30 million investment in their Series A funding round from renowned venture capitalists, including Sam Altman. The company has rebranded and expanded its team to include 50 scientists, engineers, and operators, all committed to revolutionizing the food system.

Uncommon's technology is based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a Nobel Prize-winning science that allows them to turn animal cells into a pluripotent state. What sets Uncommon apart is their pioneering use of an RNA-powered strategy to cultivate meat without genetic engineering or expensive growth media.

The challenges of culturing meat without animals have led Uncommon to innovate using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. By leveraging mRNA, they can teach cells to turn into fat or muscle without modifying the genome. This approach holds great promise for producing cultivated meat that meets consumers' expectations in terms of price and taste.

With a team of talented scientists, engineers, and food enthusiasts, Uncommon has raised $37 million from prominent climate and technology investors, including Sam Altman and Max Altman. The funding will enable Uncommon to produce mass-market products such as bacon and pork belly.

Uncommon believes that their use of RNA technology is the key to scaling cultivated meat production efficiently and meeting consumer demands. Their approach allows for faster achievement of price parity with conventional meat by targeting muscle and fat regulators directly, reducing raw material requirements. Additionally, their groundbreaking RNA delivery technology significantly reduces costs compared to traditional methods.

Furthermore, Uncommon's approach allows for rapid scaling and global availability. Their production methods mimic natural cell signaling pathways and are free from gene editing, enabling them to operate worldwide with minimal regulatory burdens. Their cells have virtually unlimited expansion capacity, making manufacturing easier and eliminating the need for new regulatory approvals.

Uncommon's RNA-based process is not only safe but also offers the potential to deliver superior taste, nutrition, and texture. By creating various cell types, including muscle, fat, connective tissue, and liver, they can provide a wide range of options to enhance flavor and texture.

The company's adaptability and defensibility are additional strengths. Uncommon can easily adapt their approach across species, starting with pork but with potential to expand into other animals. They have also secured multiple patents and trade secrets, positioning themselves at the forefront of this novel technology.

Uncommon's groundbreaking work in the field of cultured meat, combined with their new investment and rebranding, sets them on a path to revolutionize the food industry. With their RNA-powered strategy and commitment to delivering high-quality, sustainable meat alternatives, Uncommon aims to make a significant impact in addressing the world's health and environmental challenges.

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