Hong Kong Cell-Based Seafood Startup Avant Enters Skincare With Cultivated Marine Protein

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Hong Kong-based cultivated seafood startup Avant Meats has announced the launch of its cell-based functional protein for cosmeceutical products, marking its first foray into the skincare market. Produced in a traceable and controlled environment using the startup’s cell culture biotechnology, their new product, Zellulin, is described as the first of its kind and a sustainable and ethical alternative to traditional non-cruelty-free animal-based skincare ingredients.  

Avant Meats has introduced a cell-based product for the skincare industry for the first time, a cultivated bioactive functional protein that contains marine protein peptides. Unlike conventional skincare ingredients that are often added for anti-aging properties, such as collagen, Zellulin​ is produced directly from fish cells in a traceable controlled environment using Avant’s patent-pending proprietary biotechnology

Billed as the world’s first cell-based functional protein ingredient for skincare, Zellulin offers all the anti-aging qualities that cosmetic and skincare firms desire from collagen, including the marine protein peptides that promote anti-oxidation, regeneration and skin repairing – but is cruelty-free and sustainable. 

We are excited to launch our first commercialised product, Zellulin​. This pioneering bioactive ingredient answers the quest of the market for sustainable and innovative alternatives.

Carrie Chan, Co-Founder & CEO, Avant

It can be incorporated into moisturisers, creams and serums, as well as health-focused drinks and supplements. Another startup that has created animal-free ingredients designed for the skincare and cosmetic industry is Geltor, who develops its molecularly identical ingredients and functional proteins using microbial fermentation technology.

“We are excited to launch our first commercialised product, Zellulin​. This pioneering bioactive ingredient answers the quest of the market for sustainable and innovative alternatives. We welcome partnership with cosmeceutical companies to develop new, ethical and sustainable products with us,” commented Carrie Chan, co-founder and CEO of Avant. 

“Zellulin accentuates the commercial applications o​f our c​ell cultivation technology platform. Avant’s fully traceable offerings revolutionise the market with powerful, pure and sustainable ingredients for us and our planet,” added Dr. Mario Chin, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Avant. 

The news marks the first time the Hong Kong-headquartered cultivated protein startup has tapped into the enormous opportunity in the US$52.5 billion anti-aging products market, as well as the company’s first product that has been commercialised. So far, Avant says that they have entered into a number of material transfer agreements with ingredient companies to incorporate Zellulin in several products. 

Avant’s fully traceable offerings revolutionise the market with powerful, pure and sustainable ingredients for us and our planet.

Dr. Mario Chin, Co-Founder & CSO, Avant

Avant has previously debuted several prototypes of cultivated seafood, including the regionally prized delicacy, fish maw, as well as Asia’s first-ever cultured fish fillet in a recent cooking demonstration led by prominent Hong Kong chef Eddy. 

While the startup’s first commercialised product taps into skincare, its recent move to enter into a strategic partnership with Vinh Hoan Corporation (VHC), the world’s largest pangasius fish producer based in Vietnam, suggests that its sights are still firmly set on cultured seafood. 

The partnership will see Avant Meats leverage VHC’s global sales network and manufacturing capabilities, with the view to accelerate the go-to-market strategy of its cultivated fish products – the timeline for which has been set for 2021, Avant previously said after it bagged US$3.1 million in a seed round in December 2020. 

It would potentially make it one of the first Asia-based food techs to bring cell-based protein to consumers. Currently, only San Francisco firm Eat Just has won regulatory approval from Singapore authorities to sell its cultured chicken. 


Lead image courtesy of Avant.


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