Israel-based slaughter-free meat firm Aleph Farms has raised US$12m in a Series A funding round.

Investment into the business, which creates meat in a laboratory from cells, was led by VisVires New Protein (VVNP) from Singapore, with US agri-food giant Cargill , and Switzerland’s M-Industry , part of the Migros Group, as new investors.

Existing investors also joining this round included Strauss Group, Peregrine Ventures , Jesselson investments and Technion Investment Opportunity Fund, all from Israel, CPT Capital from the UK and New Crop Capital from the US.

Aleph Farms, which announced in December it had created the first steak in a laboratory from animal cells, has developed what it describes as “non-GMO technology” with Professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

It relies on a natural process occurring in cows to regenerate and build muscle tissues. The company said it has discovered a way to isolate the cells responsible for that process and grow them outside of the animal to form the same muscle tissue typical to steaks.

Aleph Farms said the new injection of capital will allow it to accelerate product development of its meat and to transform its steak prototype into a commercial product. 

Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, said: “We intend to lead an open dialogue with farmers and food and feed producers. In addition, we continue to work closely with the regulators to ensure our products will be completely safe, healthy and properly labelled.”

Matthieu Vermersch, founder and managing partner of VisVires New Protein, said: “This is a vote of confidence in Aleph Farms’ leading 3D technology and its capabilities for growing real beef steaks. Strategic partners from the food industry are important because we need to build a sustainable ecosystem for cultured meat.”

Aleph Farms was co-founded in 2017 by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen , a part of The Strauss Group , and the Technion. 

Read: Eyeing alternatives – meat companies with stakes in meat-free