Bristol and London law firm Temple Bright is advising a cultivated meat producer that is offering a potentially game-changing approach to sustainable pork as it scales up and moves towards commercialisation.
Uncommon Bio, formerly called Highersteaks, was founded in Bristol in 2017 and is now based in Cambridge.
It recently raised $30m (£24.5m) in a Series A round of funding which heralded the next phase in the company’s growth, while its new name is intended to communicate its vision of nurturing world health with creative cell science.
Temple Bright’s main role has involved providing commercial legal advice to the company on research and development (R&D) and strategic partnership agreements,
Temple Bright commercial partner Andy Poulton has worked with Uncommon on several framework agreements with cutting-edge food and pharmaceutical research companies, for the provision of analytical testing and R&D services, and with providers of innovative infrastructure to accelerate the cell cultivation processes which are fundamental to scaling cultivated meat.
Uncommon head of strategic partnerships Dr Artun Sukan said: “Andy has provided exceptional support to the Uncommon team.
“He has quickly grasped the company’s objectives and, through his attention to detail and commercial advice, enabled the team to negotiate successful outcomes with various partners, always serving the company’s interests thoroughly and effectively.”
While Uncommon is not the only company producing meat using cellular agriculture, it is the only one leveraging RNA (ribonucleic acid) technologies, which it believes will give it a competitive advantage in scaling production.
Uncommon uses RNA to trigger stem cells from a traditionally farmed animal to become muscle or fat cells, a process that can even improve flavour.
Founder and CEO Benjamina Bollag said: “By harnessing the creative potential of stem cells to improve the health of our world, we’re performing uncommon science for the common good. And with that, Uncommon was born.”
Uncommon has ambitious goals, including taking a 5% slice of the global pork market by 2035 and to sell cultivated pork at price parity with traditional pork products.
The company’s mission is timely given the strain on the environment and the global food system.
However, the cultivated meat industry faces significant challenges, ranging from regulatory hurdles to the cost of materials and scaling.
The only markets so far to approve it for sale are Singapore and the US, where the Department of Agriculture has recently given two start-ups the go-ahead to produce and sell lab-grown chicken – although other countries are expected to follow.
Temple Bright partner Andy Poulton said the firm was delighted to support this ethical business and proud to serve it as a client.
“It has been an absolute joy working with Artun and the Uncommon team. Not only are they all very gifted scientists, but they also have great vision and passion for what they are doing,” he added.
“I am certain that the company’s game-changing approach will have a huge impact in the not-too-distant future.”
Temple Bright was launched in Bristol in 2010 using a tech-enabled, streamlined business model. It opened its second office in London EC2 in 2013 and now has around 70 partners, evenly spread across the two locations.
The firm advises clients ranging from start-ups to PLCs across a range of sectors, with significant expertise in IP, technology, and other commercial work.
This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 22 September 2023.