US biotech startup Jellatech announces it has raised $3.5 million in an oversubscribed seed round to scale its manufacturing platform and introduce cell-based proteins to the global market. The round was led by Nordic-based VC firm byFounders. Other participants included Milano Investment Partners, Joyful VC, Siddhi Capital, Blustein, and others.
Jellatech uses cellular agriculture to produce complex proteins at scale, including bio-identical bovine, porcine, and human cell-based collagen. This biotech firm is the pioneer in successfully developing these novel proteins.
The new funds will help Jellatech’s R&D efforts, scale its cell-based technology, and expand its team of scientists and engineers. Moreover, the new capital will help to accelerate the commercialization of its collagen proteins for applications in healthcare, personal care, biomedical research, and F&B. Jellatech also announced that it would establish strategic partnerships to maximize its global reach and impact.
“We are very excited to bring in new and existing investors, support and capital to realize the mission of our company. We have demonstrated the success of our first proteins and now it is time to scale it up and push our technology and capabilities even further,” comments Stephanie Michelsen, CEO and founder of Jellatech.
Michelsen founded Jellatech in 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company aims to take animals out of the food system using biotechnology.
Jellatech’s platform has shown the potential to develop bioidentical collagen and other animal proteins. If produced at scale, these products could disrupt the global collagen market and significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional collagen production. In 2021 the company secured $2 million to develop its cell-based collagen and gelatin products. And in 2022, it received a strategic investment from cellular-focused VC firm CULT Food Sciences.
Collagen is present in food texturizers, vaccine stabilizers, pill capsules, facial creams, and collagen-infused drinks. In 2022, the collagen market reached 4.7 billion, according to a Research and Markets report. Challenged to disrupt this industry, other companies are also producing collagen without animals: precision fermentation company Geltor; Aleph Farms, which besides cultivating beef, is also focusing on collagen; and UK firm Vollagen, which has a plant-based alternative to marine collagen supplements, made through a proprietary fermentation process using non-GMO corn.
“Jellatech’s technology unlocks a fundamentally new branch of the tech tree of our species: creating complex proteins from scratch, at scale, without having to ‘mine’ animal bodies. The impact that this can have is going to be enormous,” said Magnus Hambleton, investor at byFounders.