New jellyfish collagen manufacturing facility opens

Jellagen has opened a new 7,500 square foot facility in Cardiff (MediWales, 2017).

The first of its kind facility will allow the extraction of high purity collagen from jellyfish. This is a sophisticated engineering and manufacturing achievement that will make Jellagen the first commercial manufacturer of jellyfish collagen for research, medical, biotech and pharmaceutical markets. Professor Andrew Mearns Spragg, CEO and founder of Jellagen, said the company could now realise its exciting potential and has all the foundations in place to build a successful business in Wales.

While collagen has been used in medical device and research applications for many years, it is typically sourced from mammalian sources, namely pigs, cows, rats and horses. As they carry a risk of disease, Jellagen is pioneering the move away from mammalian sources and has developed a next generation collagen made from jellyfish.

Andrew Mearns Spragg said “This is a key milestone in Jellagen’s evolution. To be able to manufacture jellyfish collagen in bulk quantities enables us to supply and meet the needs of world leading medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Jellyfish collagen is in essence the root of all collagens and is compatible with a broad range of cell types. This makes it ideally suited to support the growth of a wide range of human cells enabling it to be an effective biomaterial for applications such as cell culture, wound care and regenerative medicine.”

Jellagen carries out sustainable harvesting of jellyfish off the coast of West Wales. Andrew Mearns Spragg said “Being based in Cardiff gives logistical benefits for our business. Not only are we a short drive from key coastal regions for jellyfish harvesting and our depot in Pembroke Dock, but we have good access to support customers in the UK and transport links for global markets. We will implement our strategic plan to capitalise on our key relationships that will enable our sales to grow and become a key manufacturing partner to our customers but also an exporter of next generation technology made in Wales.”

Sarah Haywood, CEO of MedCity, unveiled a commemorative plaque at the facility’s launch event. In November 2015 she helped Jellagen raise £1.8m through MedCity’s Angels in MedCity investing programme. She said “Jellagen’s innovative idea to exploit jellyfish collagen has always intrigued me as it combines the commerciality of producing next generation biomaterial, with the environmental concerns of increasing jellyfish populations. I’m pleased this funding has helped Jellagen expand its processing capacity and I can’t wait to see the future take shape for this one-of-a-kind manufacturer.”

Huw Neale, Jellagen’s Sales and Marketing Manager, said “Jellagen collagen has the potential to disrupt major research and medical markets in applications such as cell culture, stem cell, regenerative medicine, cell therapies and wound care.”

The next step for Jellagen is attaining ISO13485 certification, allowing it to produce material suitable for medical application and devices and sell to the market. This will be in place by the end of 2017.

Founded in 2013, Jellagen has expanded quickly, raising more than £2m in funding from grants and angel investors. Last year it won the Life Sciences Hub Wales’ Boost Cymru competition to find the most innovative new life sciences business in Wales. Penny Owen, Interim Executive Chair of the Life Sciences Hub Wales, said “Jellagen is going from strength to strength thanks to its innovative product, its positive approach and a lot of hard work and dedication. We wish it every success in its new base.”

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