Revolutionizing Lab Proteins for Food and Medicine: How Prolific Machines’ $55M Series B is Illuminating a New Path to Growth

Two years ago, Prolific Machines unveiled its technology for a unique manufacturing approach to grow cells for industries, including cultivated meat. In addition, cell growth is hard to optimize because it’s not in a format that machines can understand. “For the last few decades, the way that we’ve been controlling cells is with molecules,” Kent said. We add these molecules into the bioreactors and hope for the best.”Prolific Machines’ protein manufacturing bioreactor (Image credit: Prolific Machines) Image Credits: Prolific Machines /Prolific Machines believes it has a way of transitioning away from these molecules to something better: light. It includes convertible notes and brings Prolific Machines’ total funding to date to $86.5 million.

Two years ago, Prolific Machines unveiled its technology for a unique manufacturing approach to grow cells for industries, including cultivated meat. Today, the Emeryville, Calif.-based company has announced that it is finally ready to bring its revolutionary bioreactor to the market, making the growth of cells more efficient and affordable.

The idea behind Prolific Machines was born in 2020 when three ambitious individuals, Deniz Kent, Max Huisman, and Declan Jones, came together with a mission to transform the way we manufacture food and medicine. Instead of relying on expensive recombinant proteins for cell production, their goal was to find more sustainable and cost-effective methods for growing and controlling cells.

This technology has the potential to revolutionize the cellular biology processes that are currently used to make everything from antibodies for immunotherapies to nutritional proteins found in infant formula. With traditional molecular methods being expensive and hard to control, Kent explained how the current methods are imprecise and unreliable, resulting in inconsistent cell growth.

  • One key issue is that cells tend to move around randomly, much like cream in coffee, when put into traditional bioreactors.
  • Additionally, these methods are hard to optimize as they are not easily understood by machines.
  • Plus, the use of expensive molecules adds to the overall production costs.

However, Prolific Machines believes it has found a solution to these problems – using light. Kent pointed out that light is already widely used in various industries, such as microalgae production for food and contamination detection. With light, most of the cell growth problems can be solved – it’s cheap, controllable, and consistent over time. Plus, machines can easily understand and work with light.

“Light solves most of those cell growth problems, Kent said. It’s a cheap commodity, you can put light where you want to go, you can turn it on and off as needed and light is the same today as it will be years from now.”

With the announcement of its protein manufacturing bioreactor, Prolific Machines is now ready to offer customers the means to efficiently biomanufacture high-value bioproducts. This includes nutritional proteins, antibodies for disease treatment, and even whole cuts of cultivated meat.

The company’s solution includes genetic tools – strands of DNA that can create different cells with the help of light. It also has specific cell lines for food and pharmaceutical applications, as well as hardware that can accurately measure and control the light within the bioreactor. And to make it all work together, Prolific Machines offers a software component with an algorithm that analyzes spectral data and determines the best light patterns to apply.

Thanks to its recent Series B financing of $55 million, Prolific Machines is now well-equipped to focus on commercialization and customer acquisition. The funding is led by The Ki Tua Fund, the corporate venture arm of Fonterra Co-operative Group, with contributions from other major players in the industry, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Mayfield.

Kent is excited about the next steps and plans to use the funds to bring their technology to the masses. “We’re now transitioning from having proved that this is working to giving this to people,” he said. “We started engaging with some commercial partners, but we are not going to announce that quite yet.”

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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