VIENNA— Biotech company Because Animals announced a rebrand on May 23, and will now be known as BioCraft Pet Nutrition.
The name change is accompanied by a key leadership appointment and follows the company’s decision to divert resources from its consumer brands and focus solely on the commercialization of cultured meat ingredients for the pet food industry.
Formulations and provisional patents formerly owned by BioCraft were acquired by CULT Food Science earlier this year. BioCraft has retained all intellectual property related to its production of cultured meat.
“As we intensified our focus on developing cultured meat for pet food manufacturers, and built up our scientific efforts, it was appropriate to claim a new identity that signals the state of the art in pet nutrition,” said Shannon Falconer, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer of BioCraft and one of the original founders of Because Animals.
Moving forward, BioCraft will dedicate its resources to R&D, infrastructure and collaborative relationships to fuel its creation of cultured meat products. This includes the appointment of several new leaders, including Theresa Rothenbücher, Ph.D., to chief product officer.
Rothenbücher is co-founder and former chief scientific officer of Revo Foods, a 3D food printing technology company. Her entrepreneurial experience paired with a background in food technology and stem cell-based tissue engineering are expected to benefit BioCraft’s technical expertise and commercial development. Rothenbücher holds a doctorate in molecular biology and tissue engineering, as well as a master’s in molecular and applied biotechnology.
“Bringing in Theresa’s experience in tissue engineering and product development multiplies our strengths, and puts us on the path to becoming the leading provider of cultured meat for the pet food supply chain,” Falconer added.
Rothenbücher will work with Chai Molina, Ph.D., chief computational officer at BioCraft since 2022. Molina holds a doctorate in mathematics and a master’s in theoretical and mathematical biology.
Other members of the BioCraft team include Jonny Cruz, chief operating officer, who has more than a decade of sales, marketing, operations, distribution and supply chain experience. He has held several roles in the pet industry throughout his career, including having co-founded and led All Things Pet, a sales and marketing consultancy dedicated to the pet industry.
BioCraft is now focused on building partnerships with pet food manufacturers looking to incorporate cultured meat — which offers sustainability, animal welfare, quality and safety benefits — into their portfolios. According to BioCraft, cultured meat provides for a more uniform raw protein material that is less likely to be contaminated by common pathogens seen among traditional, animal-based proteins.
The company uses proprietary cell lines to grow meat — without the use of fetal bovine serum — in a controlled and pathogen-free environment. Cells are grown in a liquid medium of vitamins and minerals, according to the company. The finished product is similar to a traditional “meat slurry” in consistency, which is familiar to pet food processors and can be used in a one-to-one replacement for animal-based meat in a variety of formulas, including dry kibble, wet food, treats and even fresh pet food formulas.
According to BioCraft, the company’s cultured meat products are not genetically modified and are free from GMOs, chemical and bacterial contaminants, antibiotics, pentobarbital, steroids or other hormones. The nutritional profile of BioCraft’s cultured meat ingredients stack up against animal-based meat, meeting all protein, key vitamin, fat and amino acid requirements, including taurine.
Through the rebrand, the company hopes to invigorate the alternative pet food protein space with ingredients that are less detrimental to animal welfare and the environment.
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