INNOVATOR PROFILE

VITROLABS

COMPANY INFORMATION

Founded: 2016

Headquarters: San Jose, California

Website: https://www.vitrolabsinc.com/

COMPANY HISTORY

VitroLabs was founded by Ingvar Helgason and Dusko Ilic in 2016. Helgason has a background in the fashion industry, and Ilic is an experienced stem cell biologist with expertise in tissue engineering. They intend to use the same technology for creating human skin for medical purposes to cultivate slaughter-free, environmentally friendly leather. 

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In February 2020, the UK investment company Agronomics, which focuses on cellular agriculture and synthetic biology and emphasizes alternatives to animal-derived products, invested in VitroLabs. VitroLabs anticipates bringing their first leather products to market in 2021. 
 

MATERIAL

VitroLabs intends to use stem-cell technology and tissue engineering to cultivate real leather without the need to raise and slaughter animals.

TECHNOLOGY

Production process: Cultivation

VitroLabs is likely using a similar process as in the creation of cultivated (also known as clean) meat. A sample of animal cells are placed in a cultivator with the nutrients necessary for growth and division. The natural growth process occurs more efficiently in the cultivator and the resulting cells and tissues are identical to their animal-based counterparts. 

SUSTAINABILITY

Cultivated leather has the potential to be more sustainable than traditional animal leather and petroleum-based alternatives in a number of categories. The cultivation process likely uses less water, land, and fewer chemicals than the production of traditional leather and is certainly much better in terms of animal welfare.

POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS

Clothing, accessories, home goods, upholstery, automotive. Any application where leather is used. 

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