Ophectra Real Estate and Investments Ltd. (TASE: OPCT) has reported that it has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to merge with MeaTech, which is developing technology for the 3D printing of clean meat tissue (by using stem cells). Ophectra has jettisoned its plans to merge with medical cannabis company Hi Pharma, which it announced last December. Ophectra has a market cap of NIS 38 million.
MeaTech, which is engaged in the food-tech sector, has completed a NIS 7 million seed financing round. The company is developing an advanced and unique technological process for the industrial production of clean meat, without slaughtering animals, by using 3D stem cell printing technology. The alternative meat sector has been buzzing worldwide with Beyond Meat, which recently held a Wall Street IPO, having a market cap of $9 billion, and Impossible Foods, recently raising $300 million at a company valuation of $2 billion.
MeaTech has entered into collaborations with leading, world renowned academic organizations in the field.
MeaTech is led by founder and CEO Sharon Fima. He is a world renowned expert in developing some of the most complex printing processes in the market and has founded Nano Dimension (Nasdaq: NNDM; TASE: NNDM), one of the leading companies in the printing sector.
When examination of due diligence is completed, the parties will sign a final and binding agreement as part of which the company will acquire 100% of the capital of the shares of MeaTech in exchange for an allocation of regular shares, so that after the allocation MeaTech's shareholders will hold about 60% of the capital of the Ophectra shares issued and redeemed. In addition, it has been decided that the company will allocate to MeaTech's shareholders, at the time of the merger, option warrants (not-recorded) that can be exercised for shares of the company for up to an additional 8% subject to MeaTech meeting technological milestones, or in the case that the company's securities of MeaTech's will be listed for trading on a foreign stock exchange after the merger.
Ophectra CEO Shmuel Levy said, "We are delighted to move ahead with the merger deal with a company engaged in the food tech sector for printing meat, which is a growth sector due to growing public recognition of the need for meat that is produced from technological processes that does not include raising and slaughtering livestock, while maintaining sterile conditions without contamination and the expected savings in costs. MeaTech is led by experienced managers in the field of 3D printing and top professionals from Israel's leading universities, who have already raised capital for the initial development from leading investors in the food market who believe in the future development of the alternative meat sector."
Fima said, "Most companies in the world engaged in the cloned meat sector offer cuts based on a 'stew of cells.' We also begin with the 'stew' but plan to give it a texture and shape of a genuine steak." Beyond Meat in contrast is a plant protein based meat alternative rather than cloned meat.
Fima says that the main challenge in creating cloned meat is the printing. MeaTech's R&D process is supported by Prof. Tal Dvir, and expet in the field of tissue printing at Tel Aviv University as well as Prof. Shlomo Magdassi, Head of the Science, Technology and Applications of Nanomaterials Research Group in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Chemistry. MeaTech is currently building a prototype printer and completing mapping of its work processes and development.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 2, 2019
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