The world’s first dedicated facility for slaughter-free, cell-based meat is expected to open in Mumbai, India by 2020. The Center of Excellence in Cellular Agriculture will be established by nonprofit organization Good Food Institute (GFI) in partnership with Maharashtra’s Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), a leading academic research institute in India. It will focus on open-access research projects that address the demand for cell-based meat (initially created by cultivating a small sample of animal cells in a laboratory setting) in India and globally and help entrepreneurs and businesses bring cell-based meat products to market. “Globally, companies making cell-based meat like Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat are attracting millions in investment from the likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Google Ventures, and industry behemoths like Cargill and Tyson Foods,” Varun Deshpande, GFI Managing Director, India, told VegNews. “As these pioneers continue to innovate and race towards market, there is a need for academic funding to catalyze research and development, improving the price, quality, and accessibility of cell-based meat.” The center will include state-of-the-art facilities for cell culturing and initial research will focus on the main technological challenges currently facing the industry, such as developing and optimizing agriculturally relevant cell lines, cell culture growth media, scaffolding, and bioreactors. “Each of these areas is closely intertwined, so rapid advancement of the industry as a whole requires concerted communication among researchers and companies conducting development in different areas,” Deshpande said. GFI plans to establish a second greenfield research facility for pilot-scale projects on ICT’s Jalna campus by 2021.