Tnuva Group, Israel’s largest food company, has entered a partnership with a local 3D technology firm to develop cultured-meat products.

The venture has been launched in collaboration with Nasdaq-listed Pluristem Therapeutics to develop and manufacture cultured meat with a targeted commercial debut in 2023.

Tnuva will initially invest US$7.5m in the venture, which will have a pre-launch valuation of $40m. It has the option to inject a further $7.5m over a 12-month period once the new company gets off the ground.

Pluristem will deploy its 3D “expansion platform that can produce high-quality cells in a cost-effective manner with batch-to-batch consistency”, according to a joint statement, with the new company expected to present a proof of concept this year.

Haim Gavrieli, the chairman of Tnuva, said: “Tnuva strives to lead the alternative-protein industry in Israel and to continue to expand in the industry on a global scale.

“We chose to collaborate with Pluristem because we believe it owns one of the most advanced cell-production technologies in the world. We expect the collaboration between the companies to revolutionise the cultured-food industry and develop the next generation of alternative proteins.”

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The new venture will have exclusive rights to Pluristem’s technology and intellectual property to develop cultured meat, and the tech firm will support the venture’s R&D activities.

Tnuva will manufacture the products and will have “preferred marketing rights” in Israel.

The tie-up could expand into cultured dairy and fish products under separate venture projects, the statement noted.

Zami Aberman, the chairman of Pluristem, added: “Both parties are leading companies in their fields, each with proven experience and tremendous capabilities, and the collaboration between us holds vast potential to lead towards a better future for the food industry.

“The collaboration with Tnuva supports Pluristem’s strategy to establish partnerships that leverage its cell-based technology platform. As we embark on this collaboration with Tnuva, Pluristem is still dedicated to its core business of developing cell-therapy products.”

Eyal Malis, the CEO of Tnuva, said the food manufacturer “leads the alternative-protein market in Israel and has recently taken its expertise globally”.

Just Food has approached the company for more details.

Tnuva, which generates annual revenues of around $2bn, also supplies products including meat, dairy and fish. The company’s portfolio includes alternatives to dairy and, in 2020, it emerged as an investor in Israeli-based animal-free start-up Remilk.

The company also runs the Fresh Start incubator to support food start-ups in Israel in collaboration with the Israel Innovation Authority, local business Tempo Beverages, Jerusalem-based investment platform Our Crowd and US investor Finistere.

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