Agronomics taps market for £50mln amid boom in lab-grown meat investment

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Agronomics Limited (LON:ANIC) has tapped the market for £50mln amid booming interest in the lab-grown meat market.

The AIM-listed firm, which invests in businesses focused on cultivated meat and alternative proteins, will employ the cash in its existing portfolio of 16 companies as well as new opportunities in cultivated meat, which is produced in bioreactors by using animal cells.

READ: Co-op cuts prices for plant-based products to match meat equivalents

Cultivated meat companies have collected £258mln last year, a 487% increase from 2019, according to a report assembled by the Good Food Institute (GFI).

The largest investment was US$186mln (£131mln) in Memphis Meats, among a total of 49 deals concluded during the year.

The charity said 2020 was a “breakout year” with invested capital increasing nearly six times from 2019 and the segment’s first Series B funding rounds, carried out by Memphis Meats and Mosa Meats.

Alternative farming group MeaTech acquired cultivated fat developer Peace of Meat for US$18mln (£13mln), one of only a few disclosed liquidity events in the sector.

“While investor interest has fuelled growth and helped the cultivated segment mature in 2020, much more investment is needed to continue critical R&D, scale production, and bring down costs to better compete with conventionally produced animal protein,” GFI noted.

“Companies serving other businesses (B2B) are important to achieving all these goals, yet B2B companies received just US$5mln in funding in 2020. While this was a transformative increase from the prior (disclosed) US$350,000 of total investments, this industry segment represents an important opportunity for investors moving forward.”

Shares in Agronomics tumbled 29% to 26.25p after pricing shares at 22p each in the fundraise.

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