Biodesign startup Geltor has announced three new senior executive hires to its leadership team, as the firm gears up to launch its animal-free collagen in mid-2021. The company says that its expanded team will help drive product innovation and commercial growth for its line of sustainable animal-free proteins and ingredients for the food, nutrition and cosmetics industries.
Geltor has welcomed Scott Fabro as vice president of business development, Alex Patist as vice president of operations and Michele Champagne has vice president of commercial development and regulatory affairs, the company announced on Tuesday (February 2). It comes ahead of the San Leandro-based startup’s launch of its first-ever animal-free collagen ingredient for the food and nutrition industries planned for mid-2021, as well as a number of other novel ingredients. It will mark Geltor’s first foray into the food and nutrition markets after it initially entered the beauty and cosmetics industry.
While Fabro will bring on his three-decade-long expertise in ingredients at food giants like Cargill and Sweet Harvest Foods to lead Geltor’s “ingredients-as-a-service” platform, Patist, a former senior vice president at alternative materials startup Bolt Threads, will oversee supply chain and product development. Champagne, on the other hand, will bring to Geltor her 35-year career in biotech and food ingredient development.
We want Geltor-powered products in every consumer’s household as a part of their daily lives.Alex Lorestani, CEO & Co-Founder, Geltor
“Our expanded leadership team will accelerate Geltor’s growth trajectory through new products and new markets, while providing structure to grow well into the future,” commented CEO Alex Lorestani, who co-founded Geltor with Nick Ouzounov in 2015.
“We want Geltor-powered products in every consumer’s household as a part of their daily lives. With Scott, Alex and Michele aboard, our team is prepared to keep leading the animal-free collagen market in the beauty & personal care industry and expand into food & nutrition markets,” Lorestani added.
The news comes months after Geltor secured a whopping US$91.3 million Series B financing to commercially scale its “ingredients-as-a-service” platform, following the market debut of its animal-free bioidentical human elastin Elastapure for beauty and personal care product applications.
The startup develops its “designer” ingredients and functional proteins using microbial fermentation technology, a process that many food techs are leveraging to create molecularly identical animal-free alternatives, such as Perfect Day’s dairy proteins, which are being used to make real ice cream without the need for any cows, which recently launched with a Hong Kong independent dessert brand.
Vegan collagen is for everyone. There’s no dietary restriction, no religious restrictions, and it’s an opportunity for customers to differentiate themselves in the market.Scott Fabro, VP of Business Development, Geltor
Geltor’s soon-to-launch collagen, unlike its conventional counterparts that is currently being extracted from animal skin, bones, and connective tissue, will be vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, sustainably cultivated while also clinically demonstrated for high performance. It will also be halal and kosher, which some collagens are not, if they are pork-based or are derived from bovine and slaughtered in a way that does not adhere to kosher guidelines.
Speaking to FoodNavigator in a recent interview, Geltor’s new business development VP Scott Fabro said: “Collagen is one of the fastest growing ingredients in the functional food and beverage space and our vegan collagen will deliver functional benefits that will be backed by clinical studies [the results of] which we’ll be announcing early next year; it’s not a commodity ingredient.”
“Vegan collagen is for everyone. There’s no dietary restriction, no religious restrictions, and it’s an opportunity for customers to differentiate themselves in the market,” Fabro continued.
Already, Fabro says Geltor is “engaged with several dozen customers” and says that the company has already received strong interest from a number of companies thinking about “adding it to everything from beverages to baked goods to gummies”.
The demand for sustainable protein ingredients has grown rapidly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen slaughterhouse viral outbreaks wreaking havoc on animal protein supply chains in the past months. On top of the pandemic, emerging livestock diseases such as African swine fever and Div1 shrimp virus has further heightened consumer concern over the safety of animal-based products.
Apart from vegan collagen, the biotech says that it will be debuting a number of other ingredients, including tailored nutritional and functional proteins as part of its “ingredients-as-a-service” platform this year.
These will include customised proteins for food, beverage and nutrition startups with unique textures or amino acid profiles, which will help its clients bring new products to market within 12 months.
All images courtesy of Geltor.