(Alliance News) - Agronomics Ltd on Thursday said that cultivated meat products have been approved for sale in the US, and it also announced new funding rounds at two portfolio companies, with one getting backing from Pets At Home Group PLC.

Agronomics is a venture capital investor in alternative proteins, focused on cellular agriculture and cultivated meat.

Cultivated meat is produced through in-vitro cultivation of animal cells instead of from slaughtered meat.

Agronomics said that two meat companies, Upside Foods Inc and Eat Just Inc, have achieved regulatory approval from the US Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration.

Upside, a Berkeley, California-based food technology company focused on cultivated meat production, said it plans to begin commercial production, producing up to 50,000 pounds of cultivated meat across its larger portfolio of products. It projects an expansion capacity of 400,000 pounds.

San Francisco, California-based Eat Just, focused on plant-based alternative foods, was already selling its products in Singapore, and will begin producing cultivated chicken for the restaurant group Jose Andres Group, which operates 30 restaurants across the US.

Agronomics said this is a "landmark announcement" paving the way for regulatory approval of other cultivated meat and protein products in the US.

Co-Founder and Executive Director of Agronomics Jim Mellon said: "US regulations for food safety are some of the most stringent in the world. Today's approval will provide the framework for other jurisdictions across the globe to approve the sale of cellular food products."

These companies can now sell their cell-cultivated chicken to US consumers.

Agronomics also announced that its portfolio company Good Dog Food Ltd has signed an agreement with pet care retailer Pets at Home. Pets at home contributed to Good Dog's GBP3.6 million seed round, alongside a GBP1 million investment from Agronomics itself.

"Other notable investors included Siddhi Capital, a prominent and highly respected investor in innovative food products and technologies, together with a number of private individuals including Jim Mellon," Agronomics added.

"GDF aims to transform the pet food industry with cultivated meat. By partnering with Pets at Home, the Company will utilise the retailer's expertise and industry-leading knowledge of the pet food sector as it develops a cultivated meat alternative that will be sustainable, nutritious, cruelty and antibiotic-free."

Agronomics launched Good Dog Food in March 2022, investing GBP150,000 in the founder's round.

In addition, Agronomics said that its other portfolio company CellX Ltd has raised USD6.5 million in funding from third parties to accelerate the development of its cultivated meat products.

CellX is a Shanghai-based cellular agriculture company working to bring cultivated meat products to consumers in China.

Agronomics has invested a total USD2.1 million in CellX since the company was founded in 2020, initially investing USD50,000, and in May 2022 injecting an additional USD2.0 million.

CellX has raised USD20 million, making it China's most funded cellular agriculture startup.

Agronomics Executive Director Mellon said: "We have backed CellX since the beginning. This latest funding round will give them the necessary capital to continue on their path to scalability through pilot-scale production, continued research and development and public tasting exhibitions."

Shares in Agronomics were up 3.5% at 11.00 pence in London on Thursday afternoon.

By Will Neill, Alliance News reporter

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