Interviews

Jellatech: Working to “Harness the Power of Cell Ag to Reduce the Dependency on Animal-Derived Proteins”

This Monday, New Carolina’s Jellatech announced a massive breakthrough, revealing what the company claims to be the “world’s first cell based collagen”. The news comes less than two years after Jellatech was born, and shortly follows the female-led team securing a strategic investment from Canada’s CULT Food Science.

Founder and CEO Stephanie Michelsen and the Jellatech team gave us some deeper insights into the milestone and the next steps in the company’s journey ahead.

What is the mission and vision of Jellatech?
Our mission at Jellatech is to harness the power of cellular agriculture to reduce the dependency on animal-derived proteins.

Jellatech lab
©brandiebairdphoto

Our vision is to eliminate the world’s dependency on animal-derived ingredients – starting with collagen. 

What differentiates collagen made by Jellatech from that of your competitors? 
Collagen made by Jellatech is full length and bio-identical to native mammalian collagen but done in a more sustainable and cruelty-free way. Our collagen is not limited in its applications and can be processed into gelatin and collagen peptides, or kept at its full-length native structure. 

Could you describe the key processes that were vital to successfully achieving your latest collagen milestone?
Increasing our cells’ collagen production while starting our pilot scale-up phase was vital to reaching this milestone. Further improvements with our extraction and purification methods were also tremendous to ensure we delivered a high-quality and pure sample that is still functional and full length.

Jellatech collagen
©brandiebairdphoto

In which industries and sectors does Jellatech intend to market the new collagen innovation? 
Jellatech intends to market its cell-based collagen to biomedical, cosmetics, personal care and food & beverage industries, just like conventional, animal-derived collagen. 

Do you face the same FDA and USDA issues that cultivated meat does in terms of regulatory approval? 
We are working closely with regulatory partners and organizations to ensure that we will be able to go to market as soon as our process is ready. An important distinction between us and the cultivated meat industry is that our collagen is a product from our cells which is purified to remove any cells and cellular components, this will likely allow for an easier path through the regulatory landscape and an entry into the market. 

Jellatech Inc. team
©brandiebairdphoto

You recently received a strategic investment from CULT Food Science Corp. Where are you in your financing journey and what stage comes next?
We have just begun to raise our seed round. This round will allow us to scale up and move from bench scale into pilot scale and ramp up our production capacities. 

What future goals is Jellatech working to achieve?
Jellatech is working towards further optimizing our collagen production process as well as introducing collagen from a variety of mammalian species. We are also working to take our technology to isolate other proteins that are animal-based to help further eliminate the dependency on animal-derived ingredients. 

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