SAN FRANCISCO--(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.)--
“People used to dream about how innovation would make the future a radically better, more advanced place”
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.
Previous grants, announced in April 2012, have been awarded to companies working on brain reconstruction, reversible cryopreservation, human cell re-engineering, universal airborne contaminant detection, artificial protein therapeutics, and antimatter based fuel.
“People used to dream about how innovation would make the future a radically better, more advanced place,” said Jonathan Cain, president of the Thiel Foundation. “By funding unusual approaches to known challenges, such as conflict over food prices or the diagnosing and curing of diseases, we hope that Breakout Labs helps bring about the sort of technologically prosperous world that people once imagined possible.”
Further information about the companies funded by Breakout Labs is available at: www.breakoutlabs.org/recipients.html
ABOUT BREAKOUT LABS
Breakout Labs, the newest program of the Thiel Foundation, does not make typical foundation grants—it is a revolutionary, revolving funding model through which successful projects fund the next generation of daring scientific exploration. Breakout Labs is reshaping the way early-stage science is funded by providing support for young companies to advance their most radical ideas. Successful grantees will return a modest royalty and warrant stake to Breakout Labs and, in this way, contribute to the next generation of scientific innovation. For more information, see www.BreakoutLabs.org.
ABOUT THE THIEL FOUNDATION
The Thiel Foundation defends and promotes freedom in all its dimensions: political, personal, and economic. The Thiel Foundation supports innovative scientific research and new technologies that empower people to improve their lives, champions organizations and individuals who expose human rights abuses and authoritarianism in all its guises, and encourages the exploration of new ideas and new spaces where people can be less reliant on government and where freedom can flourish. For more information, see www.ThielFoundation.org.