Cultivated Meat

CellX Secures $6.5M to Launch China’s First Cultivated Meat Pilot Facility & Tasting Space

Chinese biotechnology company CellX announces it has secured $6.5 million in Series A+ funding led by various investors to complete its pilot-scale facility and begin producing cultivated meat products. 

“We are excited to invite you to Shanghai for a taste of the future”

In February, the cell ag company announced plans to build China’s first pilot facility in partnership with Tofflon, a biotech and food equipment company. Besides a production plant and R&D center, CellX says its facility will be a “transparent food space” for public tastings of its cultivated meat demo products. 

“The facility is almost ready, and we are about to start the first batch of 2,000L run. We will be opening our doors for public tasting soon, and we are excited to invite you to Shanghai for a taste of the future,” said Ziliang Yang, cofounder and CEO of CellX.

cellx cultivated meat on a plate
© CellX

Reducing production costs

Founded in 2020 and based in Shanghai, CellX has developed technology platforms to cultivate meat and scale its production at lower costs: cell lines, media optimization, novel bioprocess design, and end-product innovation. 

Dr. Chen, director of R&D at CellX, said: “We have successfully developed 10+ cell lines from various species, adapted 5+ of them into suspension culturing, and the leading cell line has now entered pilot stage. Besides, we have also developed multiple serum-free media and improved the yield significantly, enabling us to drastically reduce the production cost. We are currently working on scaling up to 2,000L.”

To date (including this round), the company has raised $20 million. Its flagship product, a cultivated chicken breast, passed to the finals of the XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion (FTNB) competition last month. In September 2021, the biotech revealed dishes made with cultivated pork grown with cells from China’s native black pig. And in April 2022, CellX partnered with Bluu Seafood to “make cellular agriculture a reality” and advance regulatory approval in Germany and China.

Image courtesy of CellX

China’s advantage

According to Yang, China alone consumes over 100 million tons of meat annually, one-quarter of global meat consumption. Therefore, cultivated meat production must be cost-effective and produced in large volumes to impact the global food supply chain.

“Unfortunately, no company in our space has fully cracked the puzzle of production at low cost and scale, yet,” he added. 

But CellX has opportunities to succeed, he explained. China’s rapidly expanding biopharmaceutical industry has created a robust infrastructure, providing discounted equipment and experienced bioprocess engineers, allowing companies to produce cultivated meat at a lower price.

Despite the recent decoupling trend between China and the West, Yang still believes in the globalization of cell ag: “At the end of the day, carbon and sustainability are global issues that humanity faces together. It’s one of the few areas where there is common understanding.”

>> Click here to go to Cultivated X where you will see a familiar layout and a focus solely on content regarding cellular agriculture, including fermentation-enabled products, and with more granular categories.

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