Dive Brief:

  • Israeli 3D-printed cell-based meat company Meat-Tech 3D has started the process for an initial public offering in the United States, confidentially submitting a draft registration statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a company statement.
  • The price and number of shares have not been determined.
  • Meat-Tech 3D is already traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, and it is currently the world’s only publicly traded cell-based meat company. It went public on that exchange a year ago, following a merger with real estate and holding company Ophectra Real Estate & Investments. Last month, Simon Fried, the company’s head of business development, told Food Dive Meat-Tech was eyeing a U.S. IPO, but gave no details about timing.

Dive Insight:

Meat-Tech 3D is a relative newcomer to the cultured meat space, but it goes about its business in a different way than other better-known companies.

Its overarching goal is to get cell-based meat on the market through industrial-scale production. Company leaders have said they are positioning Meat-Tech as a B2B company that would help others produce cultured meat. It does not plan to introduce a consumer brand of its own. According to a presentation filed with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this month, the company’s revenue plan includes patenting technology for meat production. It will then license it to producers, and managing and holding subsidiaries to generate revenue from cultured meat products.

But because the company is publicly traded in Israel, it has well publicized deadlines to reach certain milestones. As a result, Meat-Tech is upfront with what it is doing, its goals and its acquisitions.

In August, Meat-Tech printed a slender piece of beef using cultured cells — dubbed “Project Carpaccio” because of the product’s resemblance to the thinly sliced raw dish. A month later, it created a company dedicated to making cell-based chicken called Chick&Tech. It also announced the pending acquisition of a cultured animal fat business for approximately $17.5 million in cash and equity. Last week, that provider was revealed to be Belgian company Peace of Meat.

According to the presentation filed with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange earlier this month, the company is in process of working on Labofish, a subsidiary developing fish cell lines for 3D printing and fish products for the alternative protein industry. It is also working to establish a factory with bioreactors to grow protein and develop plant strains that can produce proteins to grow cell-based meat. According to other stock market filings, plans for 2021 include 3D printing a nearly quarter-pound piece of meat and finishing a lab-scale production printer.

Leaders of Meat-Tech told Food Dive in September they are eyeing the U.S. as their primary market, so given the company’s strategy, it makes sense for it to list itself here. Unlike other publicly traded companies in the food space, Meat-Tech has no products on the market. The company has been reticent to give projections on when it could have products available. CEO Sharon Fima told Haaretz in March he estimated products will be ready in six to eight years.

Meat-Tech is likely to be the only publicly traded cell-based meat company for a while. Only one U.S. company working on cell-based meat has talked about going public: Eat Just. The California company already has a successful product on grocery shelves and foodservice menus: mung bean-based Just Egg. Cell-based meat is another initiative the company is working on, and Eat Just has said it could market cell-based chicken nuggets in extremely limited quantities if a country were to give the product regulatory approval.

Still, going public in the U.S. could give Meat-Tech the exposure it needs to get a foothold here — in the food tech sphere, with U.S.-based CPG companies and with consumers. But considering that a poll last year found four in 10 U.S. consumers said the kind of items Meat-Tech will produce were “scary,” the entire segment has a long way to come to find mass acceptance.

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