A new company in Chicago is now producing actual meat with science — not slaughter — using breakthroughs in stem cell biology.
Paul Burridge, Ph.D., a Northwestern University associate professor of pharmacology, and a growing team of scientists recently formed a new company called Clever Carnivore. They’re fast-tracking meat-making biotechnology and already expanding its business with a new headquarters and lab.
The new 4,179-square-foot facility at 2430 North Halsted St. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood puts Clever Carnivore near Chicago’s academic epicenter.
Food insecurity and food prices are steadily rising in the US and around the world, a condition made worse in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost and complexities of factory farming are growing exponentially, compounded by environmental and ethical issues.
Importantly, Clever Carnivore is not producing meat alternatives. It’s making actual pork, beef and chicken using stem cell biology, recombinant protein technology and bioengineering. The cultivated meat is identical, cell for cell, to the chops, steaks and wings found today in your grocer’s meat department.
One major difference is the elimination of pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli — and the welcome absence of antibiotics, steroids, disinfectants, pesticides and nitrates.
Cultivated meat is nutritionally equal to traditional meat. Its menu applications — from high-end cuisine to backyard barbecues — are entirely the same.
Costs for lab-grown meat products are currently higher than those of their conventional counterparts, but with increased volumes, production costs will ultimately be lower than those of factory farming. Clever Carnivore is uniquely positioned to streamline and scale up the cultivated meat production process due to the team’s background in low-cost cell culture media optimization.
Clever Carnivore’s team of leading scientists also includes Davi Lyra-Leite, a biomedical engineer with expertise in stem cells, metabolism and differentiation; Phillip Freeman, a chemist and bioprocess engineer with expertise in gene therapy manufacturing; Ray Copley, a biomedical scientist, engineer and former aerospace research analyst; and Donny McKenna, a developmental biologist with expertise in biochemical research and drug discovery.