Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Brazil’s Cellva Raises R$6.5 Million to Develop Cultivated Pork Fat

Cellva Ingredients, the first startup in Brazil to develop and produce cultivated animal ingredients, starting with pork fat, has raised R$6.5 million in its first financial round. 

Seed4SCience from Fundepar led the round with the participation of ProVeg Incubator, the Spanish fund Rumbo Ventures, and the Rio Grande do Sul angel investor network EA Angels. Cellva expects to close the round by March 2024, aiming to raise R$10 million.

The startup was part of the 11th cohort of the ProVeg Incubator, joining a cluster of aspiring entrepreneurs determined to address some of the biggest challenges in alternative proteins.

Cellva Ingredients founders
Bibiana Matte and Sérgio Pinto © Cellva Ingredients

Cultivated pork fat in 21 days

Sérgio Pinto (CEO), a former BRF executive, and Bibiana Matte (CSO), a cell culture and tissue engineering researcher, founded Cellva in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, in 2022 to create sustainable fats better for humans, animals, and the planet.

Since its establishment, the Brazilian biotech has developed fat and oil cultivation technologies to supply these ingredients to the food industry. In mid-2023, Cellva announced its first fat prototype, claiming a 21-day production frame, while traditional pork fat takes around 24 months. 

Moreover, according to the startup, its fats can be customized to be healthier through a non-GMO modulation process: less saturated fat and anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and better digestibility features.

In addition to pork fat, the biotech is also developing oils and olive oils using plant cells as a product diversification strategy. 

A banner displaying Cellva Ingredients' applications, which include chocolates.
© Cellva Ingredients

Expansion for product launch in 2025

In a recent interview with Exame, Pinto said that its cultivated platform can now produce one kilo of fat per month, a capacity that allows for product validation, facilitates regulatory evaluations, and enables testing by potential buyers. 

The company will expand to a new laboratory equipped with cutting-edge bioreactors and a larger team (13 employees) to support its production capacity and scale its cellular agriculture solutions with efficiency and economic viability.

Cellva has plans to introduce products by Q4 2024 or Q1 2025, depending on the regulatory approval of Brazil’s regulatory body, Anvisa.

“Based on biotechnology, we are committed to producing dietary fat quickly, efficiently and sustainably. And here’s our biggest differentiator: we managed to do it in just 21 days, using a minimal fraction of inputs compared to traditional methods, which take between three and 14 years,” Pinto shared on social media.

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