A Cambridge startup which cultivates pork from animal cells has raised £24 million in Series A funding.

Higher Steaks, which moved its HQ to Cambridge from Bristol in 2020, will rebrand as Uncommon following the funding round led by Balderton Capital and Lowercarbon.

Red Alpine, East Alpha and existing investors Max and Sam Altman, Miray Zaki and Sebastiano Castiglioni also participated.

The company creates bacon and pork belly from RNA, the molecule that contains the chemical instructions that direct cells’ natural machinery into making a protein.

Founders Benjamina Bollag and Dr Ruth Faram claim this is the safest and quickest way to create cost-effective meat without gene editing.

“From a young age, I have always been aware of how diets and food choices can have a disproportionate impact on our health,” said CEO Bollag. “This led me to found Uncommon, a biocreation company that uses the power of cells to tackle the most pressing challenges to our health, starting with cultivated pork.”

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She added that the technology removes the need for antibiotics, animal products or toxic small molecules.

“As the only cultivated meat leveraging RNA technologies, we believe we have a competitive advantage that could help us become the largest protein company in the world,” she said.

“I’m delighted with the progress we’ve made so far as a company and look forward to working closely with our new and existing investors to continue to build on this progress and make a difference to global health.”

The funding will be used to apply for regulatory approval and scale up production at its pilot manufacturing facility at Cambridge Technopark. It will also look to double the size of its team over the next 18 months.

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