CellX, China’s Most Funded Cellular Agriculture Startup Lands $6.5M in Series A+ Round

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China’s cultivated meat front-runner, CellX, has successfully procured $6.5M in a Series A+ funding round.

Shanghai-based CellX’s new funding comes by way of a collection of strategic investors. The funding propels CellX toward the pilot-scale production of its cultivated meat products. To date, the company’s funding totals over $20 million — making it China’s highest-funded cellular agriculture startup.

CellX, which launched in 2020, is focused on constructing platform technologies with a multi-species approach. The company is actively collaborating with leading global universities and companies to expedite the commercialization of cultivated meat, particularly in the APAC region.

”Production at low cost and at scale is key’

“Meat is a commodity that needs to be consistently produced at a competitive cost and large scale,” Ziliang Yang, Co-founder and CEO of CellX, said in a statement. “Each year, China alone consumes 100+ million tons of meat, more than a quarter of global meat consumption. For cultivated meat to have a meaningful impact on our global food supply chain, production at low cost and at scale is key.”

CellX cultivated meat
CellX cultivated meat | Courtesy

Established in 2020, CellX has constructed R&D platforms across four crucial technological sectors of lab-grown meat: cell line development, media optimization, innovative bioprocess design, and end product creativity. Earlier this year, CellX revealed its intent to construct China’s premier pilot production facility for lab-grown meat, housing several thousand-liter bioreactors.

“We have successfully developed 10+ cell lines from various species, adapted 5+ of them into suspension culturing, and the leading cell line has now entered pilot stage,” Dr. Chen, the R&D Director at CellX, says. “Besides, we have also developed multiple serum-free media and improved the yield significantly, enabling us to drastically reduce the production cost. We are currently working on scaling up to 2,000L.”

Partnerships for a sustainable food system

CellX’s forthcoming pilot production facility is a joint venture between CellX and Tofflon, a public biotech and food equipment company. Apart from accommodating multiple thousand-liter bioreactors, the facility will also act as an interactive zone for customers to sample CellX’s demonstration products. This initiative will inaugurate China’s first “transparent food space” dedicated to cultivated meat R&D, pilot production, and public tasting.

China’s First Cultivated Meat Pilot Plant. Source: CellX

“Unfortunately, no company in our space has fully cracked the puzzle of production at low cost and scale, yet,” Yang said. “This is where CellX and China can add value. Thanks to China’s booming biopharma industry and fermentation sector, there is already a good ecosystem in place, including media and equipment at competitive pricing, as well as a large pool of talented bioprocess engineers. All of which enables companies to produce cultivated meat at a significantly lower cost in China.”

CellX says cultivated meat companies that have pilot production facilities operating at a thousand-liter scale are becoming more important to China’s future due to the critical role they play in carbon reduction and food security.

At the start of 2022, cultivated meat and “future foods” were included in China’s 14th 5-Year plan by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. President Xi also emphasized China’s need to adopt “a ‘Greater Food’ approach” to nutrition during his address at the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, underlining the importance of ensuring a stable supply of all staple food groups.

Yang sees a strong future for globalization in cellular agriculture. “At the end of the day, carbon and sustainability are global issues that humanity faces together. It’s one of the few areas where there is common understanding.”


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