Austin startup developing lab-grown breast deserves national spotlight

BioBQ has been working to launch its brisket, which is made from cultured cells rather than slaughtered animals.

Culture Map Austin – Brisket, a staple at BBQs in Texas, is as synonymous with the Lone Star State as the Alamo and oil wells. Recently named the state’s most innovative start-up, an Austin company wants to take this staple of grilling to a new high-tech level.

BioBQ is working on technology to bring its lab-made, cell-cultured breast to market in 2023. The company made it into the new list of the news service Bloomberg 50 startups to watch in the USA – a startup for every state.

BioBQ’s co-founders are Austin native Katie Kam, a vegan with five college degrees (four from the University of Texas and one from Texas A&M University), and Janet Zoldan, a “hardcore carnivore” professor of biomedical engineering at the UT is . Kam is the CEO and Zoldan is the Chief Science Officer.

This type of meat is real animal meat made by culturing animal cells in a laboratory. according to the Good Food Institute.

“This production method eliminates the need to raise and breed animals for food. Cultured meat consists of the same types of cells arranged in the same or similar structure as animal tissue, thus replicating the sensory and nutritional profiles of conventional meat,” says the institute.

It turns out that before he became vegan, Kam worked as a high school student at the now closed BB’s Smokehouse in northwest Austin. On breaks, she ate gravy brisket and banana pudding.

“But over time, as I learned more about factory farming and couldn’t differentiate between my dogs and cats, which I loved, and the animals that were on my plate, I decided to go vegan,” Kam said writes on the BioBQ website.

hearing about the 2013 Market launch of the first cell-cultured hamburger set Kam on the path to founding BioBQ in 2018. Zoldan joined the startup as a co-founder the following year.

RELATED: Man breaks into and steals more than 20 brisket from La Barbecue restaurant

Now BioBQ aims to be the first company in the world to sell brisket and other grilled meats like jerky made from cultured cells rather than slaughtered animals.

Corresponding Profile of BioBQ According to Crunchbase’s website, the startup relies on proprietary technology to efficiently produce meat products in weeks, rather than the year or more it takes to raise and slaughter cattle. This process “enables control of meat content and flavor, reduces the environmental impact of meat production, and takes grilling to the next delicious, sustainable level that consumers want,” the profile says.

2020, Texas Monthly Writer Daniel Vaughn questioned The premise of BioBQ.

He wrote: “There’s something about the idea of ​​lab-grown breasts that always bothers me, and it has nothing to do with science fiction. If you could design every cut of beef from scratch, why choose one that’s so difficult to prepare? Why not an ox’s worth of ribeyes?”

Kam offered a very entrepreneurial answer.

“I’m from Austin and I know brisket is a big deal around here,” Kam said to Vaughn. “It seemed like a great challenge to demonstrate this technology and how it works.”

Meanwhile, Zoldan had a more marketing-oriented response to Vaughn’s confusion.

“I don’t think cell-based meat is going to take off, but I think there’s a place for it in the market,” she told Zoldan of Vaughn.

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Laura Coffey

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