The demand for high-quality protein continues to increase due to population growth and the commercialisation of cultivated meat is emerging as an exciting and much sought-after solution to global food insecurity. With this in mind, we are delighted to introduce Richard Freeman, our new Commercial Director.
Richard is an independent consultant on contract with a commercial background in life sciences and stem cell technology companies. He also has a PhD in Biotechnology from Heriot-Watt University and has worked with leading life sciences companies in marketing, sales, and commercialisation.
Extracellular: Why were you drawn to study biological sciences initially and what inspired you to pursue a career in its commercial side?
Richard: I always wanted to be an epidemiologist but during my undergrad realised that I was terrible at statistics and that what I really enjoyed was molecular biology. I loved troubleshooting these big, meaty problems and understanding why even routine procedures often failed.
This feeling is what drew me to the sales side as well. I’m still dealing with difficult problems except now they involve people, so they are much more complex.
Extracellular: Is that what drew you to the cultivated meat space? What do you find exciting about it?
Richard: I find cultivated meat fascinating, to be honest, and I fell into it by accident. The industry is very interesting to me because many people are trying to solve problems – and many don’t think they should be able to solve them.
Conventional wisdom from Biopharma would say that tissue culture can’t be done at the scale or cost to make cultivated meat sustainable, but now a lot of people are proving them wrong.
Cultivated meat is cutting-edge science that has the ability to completely change the world we live in. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in that?!
Extracellular: You mentioned that you’re drawn to complex challenges, and we both know there are many in cultivated meat! What is the biggest challenge facing you in this role right now?
Richard: What I’ll be doing at Extracellular is helping build out the commercial side of the business. That will involve how we deal with customers, their journey, and what we need to show them to demonstrate that we can solve their problems before they have even thought of them. Ultimately, it will be about making sure our customers are happy and our relationship grows into a successful partnership.
It can be difficult for cultivated meat companies to do it all themselves. The scale of the challenge means there is a lot of risk in building everything in-house, but these don’t always become apparent until 12 or 18 months down the line. We will have a big challenge convincing people of a problem that they haven’t yet seen.
Extracellular: Finally, we’d like to know more about the real Richard! Who are you outside of solving complex commercial problems?
Richard: Well, I’m getting back into fitness post-COVID. Like a lot of people, I got a bit lazy over the pandemic so I’m getting back into running and weightlifting. I’m also a gamer and a big reader; normally history, philosophy, good sci-fi, or anything by Lee Child. I’m also a dog dad and we have a sassy Labrador called Willow who is currently sleeping in the corner of the office.