Making Lab-Grown Leather From Cow Cells—And Inching Toward Production

VitroLabs is on a mission to create environmentally-friendly, sustainable leather—from cow cells. Launched in 2016, the Milpitas, Cal., company has developed a tissue engineering process that takes a collection of a few cells from cows (potentially ostriches or crocodiles, too), nurtures them and turns them into full thickness hides.

“We’re growing real animal hides in a lab and transforming them into leather,” says co-founder Ingvar Helgason. He adds that, when he and co-founder Dr. Dusko Ilic produced their first sample, “It felt like science fiction.”

Now Helgason is inching closer to producing a commercialized product. He just closed a Series A financing led by Agonomics

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