The Thiel Foundation announced today three new grants awarded through Breakout Labs, its revolutionary revolving fund to promote innovation in science and technology. The newest awards focus on solutions at the intersection of biology and advanced technologies.
Breakout Labs recipient Modern Meadow is developing a fundamentally new approach to meat and leather production that is based on the latest advances in tissue engineering and causes no harm to animals. Co-founders Gabor and Andras Forgacs respectively invented and helped commercialize bioprinting, a technology that builds tissues and organ structures based on the computer-controlled delivery of cells in three dimensions. They previously co-founded Organovo, a San Diego-based regenerative medicine company which applies bioprinting to a range of medical applications including drug discovery, drug testing and ultimately transplant tissues. With Breakout Labs funding, they plan to apply the latest advances in tissue engineering beyond medicine to produce novel consumer biomaterials, including an edible cultured meat prototype that can provide a humane and sustainable source of animal protein to consumers around the world.
“Breakout Labs is a much-needed source of funding and support for emerging technologies like ours,” said Andras Forgacs. “Investors across the board have become more risk-averse and yet early funding is critical to enable truly innovative ideas. We are proud to be a part of the Breakout Labs program.”
“Modern Meadow is combining regenerative medicine with 3D printing to imagine an economic and compassionate solution to a global problem,” said Lindy Fishburne, Breakout Labs’ executive director. “We hope our support will help propel them through the early stage of their development, so they can turn their inspired vision into reality.”
Additional Breakout Labs grants were awarded to Bell Biosystems and Entopsis. Bell Biosystems is developing a technology that can be introduced into therapeutic cells to track them using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) instruments. Entopsis is developing a low-cost, versatile, nano-engineered platform for diagnosing multiple diseases from a single sample.
Launched in November 2011, Breakout Labs provides teams of researchers in early-stage companies with the means to pursue their most radical goals in science and technology. To date Breakout Labs has awarded a total of nine grants, of up to $350,000 each. Breakout Labs accepts and funds proposals on a rolling basis.