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MycoWorks to open world’s first commercial-scale Fine Mycelium plant

Company News, News | August 7, 2023 | By:

A new mushroom-based leather is developed by harvesting engineered mycelium cells to mimic the look and feel of traditional animal-based leather. Photo: MycoWorks.

Biomaterials technology company MycoWorks announced the opening date of the world’s-first commercial-scale Fine Mycelium production plant. Set to begin operating on September 20, 2023, the 136,000 square foot factory will employ more than 350 people, enabling MycoWorks to supply its luxury partners with millions of square feet of Reishi per year. Reishi is a new category of premium, natural material that features the strength, durability, and hand-feel of the finest animal leathers with lower environmental impact

“This is the moment the luxury industry has been waiting for; a plastic-free leather alternative that offers undeniable beauty and performance—at scale,” said Patrick Thomas, former CEO of Hermès and MycoWorks Board Member. “Now that the challenge of supply has been solved, brands will move quickly to commercialize items made with Reishi.” 

MycoWorks’ proprietary Fine Mycelium production process cultivates mycelium in a controlled environment, harnessing its natural growth to create beautiful sheets of Reishi, the only leather alternative that meets the luxury industry’s performance standards. Since Reishi’s introduction, the company has partnered with major brands across the luxury, fashion, home furnishings and automotive industries, including Hermès, Ligne Roset and GM.

“There have been two barriers to the decades-long search for a luxury leather alternative: product quality and scalable manufacturing,” said Matt Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks. “In 2016 we eliminated the first by introducing Reishi to the world, and in September 2023 we are answering the question of scale with this state-of-the-art facility in South Carolina.”

MycoWorks operates vertically, owning its technology stack rather than licensing or outsourcing. The development and control of every step of its production process has given the company the depth of expertise to introduce this new category of material to market.

“MycoWorks’ Fine Mycelium platform is an unprecedented advancement in materials,” said Kiersten Stead, Managing Partner DCVC Bio and MycoWorks Board Member. ”Opening the doors on the first commercial-scale factory has MycoWorks poised to answer the luxury industry’s desire to craft objects with natural alternatives to leather.”

Today’s announcement follows the sharing of test results that demonstrate how Reishi meets luxury standards for material performance without the use of plastics. Fine Mycelium stands out in a field of alternatives that depend on polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) films, fillers, or backings to provide strength and durability.

In October 2023, MycoWorks will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will be attended by brand partners, distinguished guests and government officials in celebration of this industry-first achievement. Attendees will have the opportunity to witness the factory’s cutting-edge technology and learn about Reishi’s diverse applications.

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