The key to a slaughter-free collagen could be in the hands of innovative companies like Jellatech. The North Carolina-based biotech startup announced last week a major milestone achievement. After only 2 years in existence, the Jellatech team has successfully developed a full length, triple helical and functional collagen made from their own proprietary cell lines.
Collagen is widely used across industries making up a $8.4Bn market including biomedical, health, personal care & beauty, materials and food & beverage industry applications. However, the protein is only found in animals and conventionally, collagen is sourced from hides, bones and connective tissue of animals, which is unsustainable.
Several biotech startups are working on solving this issue and eyeing the lucrative collagen market. California-based Geltor raised over $100M in funding with a post-money valuation in the range of $100M to $500M as of Jul 27, 2020, according to PrivCo. But while fermentation and plant-based collagen offer interesting alternatives, applications are more limited. The quality of the collagen also largely depends on the source of the animal, time since slaughtered, storage conditions and processing procedure of the ingredient. All of these issues are eliminated with cell-based collagen, and Jellatech has just shown that cell-based collagen is virtually bio-identical to collagen derived from animals.
“Collagen formation is a complex process that requires specialised machinery found only in mammalian cells. We’re working to harness the innate ability of these cells to produce collagen that is bio-identical to native collagen and do it in a sustainable and animal-free way.” – Christopher Gilchrist, Senior Scientist at Jellatech
Because of this, the company has plans to use the sustainable collagen in a wide range of applications from biomedicine to cosmetics to food & beverages. Would you purchase collagen that comes from a sustainable and animal-free source? Let us know in the comment below.
Jellatech is part of our New Protein Fund I Portfolio. If you want to join our community and receive a US$200,000 investment package to fast-track your alternative protein startup, apply here.
Our New Protein Fund II will be available in Q4 2022 and will build on the learnings of NPF I, allowing us to continue to invest in the most exciting alternative protein companies globally. If you’re interested in joining this new fund, please contact us here.