Animal funds

BREAKING: Jellatech unveils its first animal-free cell-based collagen – vegconomist

Today, June 29, Jellatech reveals a major step in its mission to eliminate animals from the food system, starting with collagen and gelatin: after only two years of existence, the North Carolina team announces the successful development of full-length, functional triple-helical collagen made from its own proprietary cell lines.

This is a major step for us. Being able to see our own cell-based collagen with the naked eye – it brings tears of joy.

Founded in 2020 by Stephanie Michelsenwhich appeared on the Forbes 30 Under 30 listing for 2022, the company secured $2 million in seed funding last year and recently received a strategic investment from cellular venture capital firm CULT Food Sciences.


Collagen — a by-product of the meat industry — is widely used in various categories in a highly lucrative market totaling approximately $8.4 billion. The demand for this ingredient is increasing due to its common use in food texturizers, vaccine stabilizers, pill capsules, and wine and beer clarification, among others. Currently, however, the protein is only found in animals; therefore, various emerging biotech companies are working to take animal cruelty out of the equation, including Geltor and Aleph Farms.

“This achievement just shows that we have a way and now we have laid the groundwork for a sustainable future of protein production.”

While other companies use fermentation and plant-based collagen, Jellatech says these applications are more limited in that they are not bio-identical to animal-derived collagen and are therefore unable to provide the same functionality. This is the problem that Jellatech is now able to solve with its cell-based collagen technology.

Jellatech collagen in packaging

CEO Stephanie Michelsen comments today, “It is becoming increasingly clear that we need to change many of our existing practices and how we support our planet. This achievement just shows that we have a way and now we have laid the groundwork for a sustainable future of protein production.

Lead scientist Christopher Gilchrist says, “Collagen formation is a complex process that requires specialized machinery found only in mammalian cells. We strive to harness the innate ability of these cells to produce collagen that is bio-identical to native collagen and to do so in a sustainable, animal-free way.

The Jellatech Inc. team

“We are thrilled to see that our cell-derived collagen looks bio-identical to animal-derived collagen. Because of this, we have a wide range of exciting applications ranging from biomedicine to cosmetics to food and beverage,” adds Rob Schutte, Chief Scientist.

The race to save our planet and its inhabitants is on; it starts with food, but goes way beyond that, says Jellatech. And it’s true that animal use and animal cruelty is global and pervasive. Investors and innovators like these must continue to find animal-free solutions at every level.

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