Auckland based, Opo Bio is an industrial cultivated meat biotech company founded in July 2022 by Dr. Olivia Ogilvie, Dr. Laura Domigan, and Dr. Vaughan Feisst using previous research carried out by Dr. Domigan at The University of Auckland.
The current funding announcement is led by Matū Karihi, syndicated with The University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund, Booster Innovation Fund, and angel investors.
The start-up's website states its focus is on producing beef and sheep cells for global producers of cultivated meat - allowing producers to by-pass the science and leap-frog straight into bio-reactor stage of meat production.
'The starting cells effect the entire cultivation process and end product. Our core capabilities lie in non-GM livestock cell line development.
Opo’s cell lines are available to cultivated meat producers and researchers, creating infrastructure that will enable the industry to progress and more effectively scale'.
Cultivated meat resembling old-world land-based animal meat.
New Zealand has a very strong and innovative land-based agricultural sector but has been slow in the development of cell-based meat derivatives including finished product.
Opo Bio is the first NZ company to come out and flag its intentions to the expanding global cultivated meat market.
CEO Olivia Ogilvie is quoted in the Vegconomist as saying “We want to accelerate the field by providing primary cells and cell lines for commercial use. Our first product will allow researchers to focus on their big questions rather than spending time isolating cells.”
Opo Bio says it is now offering fat and tissue based cells to industry
This raises the all important question; can cultivated meat producers create a consumer friendly pricing structure? By removing what Opo refers to as 'the science component' this may provide producers with a fast track to market, much needed at this stage of development.
Vegconomist adds: 'Opo Bio’s primary cow cells are available for purchase via the company’s website. Opo Bio has plans to expand its portfolio by developing commercial bovine cell lines capable of growing in suspension bioreactors using serum-free growth by 2023'.
Editors Note: Technically NZ is well placed to accelerate the meat bio-tech products and services sector but commentators suggest the present government is slow on supporting any economically viable diversification strategy. The governments socialist led agenda appears bent of driving traditional farmers out of business by way of the imposition of unrealistic GHG emissions levies. They are already facing increasing costs across whole-of-farm activities.
Currently land based animal meat in the form of Sirloin Steak is fetching up to $35/kilogram in a leading NZ supermarket chain.