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Magic Valley Strikes Deal with Biocellion, Boosting Cultivated Meat Industry

Melbourne-based startup, Magic Valley, is nearing completion of its US$3 million raise and is in the process of applying for regulatory approval. As it accelerates towards these milestones, the cultivated meat company has entered into a pivotal agreement with Biocellion, a US-based company that creates virtual simulators of living system behaviors.

Biocellion, headquartered in Seattle, operates in over 13 countries and has a diverse portfolio of clients including Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and academic institutions. It is notably recognized for modeling therapies for Celgene's blood cancer pharmaceutical products, as well as modeling skin growth and response to materials in products developed by Procter & Gamble, such as bandages and sunscreen.

According to Magic Valley's founder and CEO, Paul Bevan, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two firms will expedite the startup's scale-up process.

“We're pretty well aligned in terms of what we're trying to do, and Biocellion are looking to get involved outside of life sciences and in the cellular agriculture or cultivated meat industry," stated Bevan. The collaboration, he believes, will prove mutually beneficial.

Earlier this year, Magic Valley introduced its premium pork produced without harming animals, using a revolutionary method that involves taking a small skin biopsy from live animals and transforming the skin cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These cells, with their unlimited growth potential, can be turned into muscle and fat - the primary constituents of meat.

The firm takes pride in differentiating itself from competitors who commonly use fetal bovine serum, a slaughter byproduct, to grow cells. "In our cell culturing process, we have taken the view from the start that we need to use animal origin-free media and products in the process," explained Bevan. The exception is the minimally invasive "skin scraping" part of the process.

The collaboration with Biocellion will provide Magic Valley with valuable insights into cellular behavior within bioreactors, with the end goal of improving bioreactor design and enhancing efficiency in cultivated meat production.

Biocellion's CEO, Simon Kahan, expressed excitement about the partnership, stating, "We're excited to collaborate with Magic Valley using our advanced virtual experiments technology in order to accelerate the development of bioreactor designs and drive efficiency in cultivated meat production."

As the two companies work together, their objective is to revolutionize meat production with a focus on sustainability and ethical practices. The collaboration is also strategically supported by Brinc, a global venture accelerator based in Hong Kong.

Brinc's CEO and founder, Manav Gupta, stated, "This partnership showcases the potential that interdisciplinary solutions can play to reshape the future of the food industry."

Bevan added that Magic Valley's capital raise has taken longer than expected but remains on track along with regulatory applications. The funds will also aid in developing a cultivated beef prototype. The firm expects to secure regulatory approval and commence commercialization by the end of 2024.

Magic Valley has been very vocal about the potential of cultivated meat, asserting that by 2024, such products will be "indistinguishable" from traditionally farmed meat and could even be enhanced to provide additional nutrients. With the global population predicted to hit 10 billion by 2050, Magic Valley believes that traditional methods of animal agriculture won't suffice to meet the future protein demands.

Cultivated meat, according to Magic Valley, could potentially save the lives of the 70 billion animals slaughtered every year. In addition, a complete switch to cultivated meat could result in a 92 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 95 percent reduction in land use, and a 78 percent reduction in water use, thereby profoundly impacting sustainability and animal welfare.


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