News story

Jellyfish collagen pioneers set up biomaterial plant in Wales

Innovate UK-supported Jellagen’s next-generation collagen product could support wound care and regeneration of human cells.

Underwater image of a Barrel jellyfish
Jellagen harvests jellyfish off the west coast of Wales.

Cardiff is now home to the first commercial manufacturing plant for extracting high-purity collagen from jellyfish.

The 7,500 square foot facility - established by medtech and biomaterials company Jellagen at Capital Business Park, Wentloog - will serve the research, medical, biotech and pharmaceutical markets.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and provides structural support for cells in the body’s tissues and organs. It has been used in medical device and research applications for many years. It is usually sourced from pigs, cows, rats and horses.

Manufacturing in bulk quantities

As these mammals carry a risk of disease, Jellagen is moving away from traditional sources to develop a next generation collagen. This is with the help of £225,000 in grant funding from Innovate UK.

The company carries out sustainable harvesting of jellyfish off the west coast of Wales and operates a depot at Pembroke Dock.

Professor Andrew Mearns Spragg, Chief Executive and Founder, 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 and enables it to be an effective biomaterial for applications such as cell culture, wound care and regeneration.

Investment from Finance Wales

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

Since it was founded in 2013, Jellagen has raised more than £2.4 million in funding from grants and investment. That has included £1.8 million through the Angels in MedCity programme, with involvement from Finance Wales.

Last year the firm won the Life Sciences Hub Wales Boost Cymru competition to find the most innovative new life sciences business in Wales.

Published 28 June 2017