Billionaire Peter Thiel invests in the development of 3D printed meat
The prospect of lab-grown meat has intrigued both vegetarians and environmentalists for years. Humans eat about 240 billion kilograms of meat each year — a voracious demand for animal protein that has resulted in environmental degradation, cruelty to livestock, and the spread of dangerous diseases. And now, owing to a $350,000 donation by the Thiel Foundation to a company called Modern Meadow, the idea of printing meat using a 3D printer has come that much closer to reality.
Peter Thiel is no stranger to investing in alternative start-ups. His foundation’s Breakout Labs has funded ventures into brain reconstruction, reversible cryopreservation, human cell re-engineering, artificial protein therapeutics, and antimatter-based fuel.
Modern Meadow was co-founded by Gabor and Andras Forgacs, two tech-entrepreneurs who developed and commercialized bioprinting — a technology that iteratively constructs tissues and organ structures based on computer-controlled delivery of cells in three dimensions. The pair had previously co-founded Organova, a company that worked to apply the same principle to drug discovery, drug testing, and transplant tissues