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.
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.
VitroLabs Inc uses stem-cell technology and tissue engineering to cultivate real leather without the need to raise and slaughter animals.
Production process: Cultivation
VitroLabs is 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.
Cultivated leather is 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.
Currently making watch bands.
Image from VitroLabs Inc.