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Innovative and sustainable Bath-based startups confirm collaboration

Two University of Bath spin-out companies who were supported through the Sustainable Technologies Business Acceleration Hub (STBAH), a CSCT-delivered programme, have moved a step closer with their collaborative relationship.

Naturbeads, a startup looking to scale up their biodegradable microbeads and Cellular Agriculture, who focus on the production of animal-sourced foods from cell cultures, have made their relationship official with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

A business MoU is legally non-binding, but it outlines terms and details of the mutual understanding, noting each party’s requirements and responsibilities, but without it being a legally enforceable contract. For Naturbeads and Cellular Agriculture this is the first step towards developing a more formal contract as they step up their research working alongside academics at the University of Bath.

The collaboration between Naturbeads and Cellular Agriculture brings together the two Bath-based startups and two University of Bath academics, Dr Paul De Bank (Pharmacy & Pharmacology) and Dr Marianne Ellis (Chem Eng), who have complementary expertise in biomaterials and scaffold manufacture, bioprocess design for tissue engineering, and cultured meat production to test a new edible three-dimensional scaffold with the potential to greatly improve culture efficiencies.

The research collaboration with Cellular Agriculture will enable Naturbeads to test the viability of their cellulose beads as a scaffold for cultured meat, a technology that will provide an alternative to meat from animals and thus substantially reduce the environmental impact of farming. For Cellular Agriculture, the cellulose beads provide an opportunity to expand their range of scaffolds to use within their proprietary bioreactors.

For both the companies, it is hoped, that through their expertise, they can accelerate the commercialisation of cultured meat which will directly contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Talking about the collaboration, Giovanna Laudisio, CEO & Co-Founder at Naturbeads, says:

“At Naturbeads we are excited to collaborate with Cellular Agriculture and the high-profile researchers in this emerging field at the University of Bath. We would like to thank STBAH for the introductions and for making this possible.  Naturbeads cellulose beads are a versatile technology and to be able to utilise them for cultured meat production brings together two innovations and a mutual ethos for driving industrial decarbonisation.”

Illtud Llyr Dunsford, CEO and Co-Founder at Cellular Agriculture, says:

“Cellular Agriculture Ltd are delighted to be partnering with Naturbeads to provide the opportunity to utilise their exciting technology for cultured meat production.

This relationship will help cement our ambition as the global technology solutions lead for the cultured meat industry and we can play an active role in the current ecosystem in defining this new food value chain.”

Both Naturbeads and Cellular Agriculture received free, bespoke business support available through STBAH and provided support to growth companies innovating in low carbon or sustainable technologies.  The STBAH programme was funded through the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by the University of Bath through the CSCT.

By 7 April 2021

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