Cellibre Closes an $11.5 Million USD Series A Funding to Commercialize Their Industry-leading Cultured Cannabinoid Platform

Cellibre has developed and is now scaling proprietary cells to produce pure, natural, pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids via fermentation
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 3:00 AM HST

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Cellibre Inc., a leading sustainable manufacturing technology company that employs an organism-agnostic approach to turn cells into specialized factories to produce globally significant products at scale announced today the close of an oversubscribed and upsized Series A financing. The round was led by Merida Capital Holdings with participation from Cellibre company founders, as well as, Scott Gordon, Flatiron Venture Partners, L2V, Entourage Effect Capital, and Delta Emerald Ventures.

Cellibre logo (PRNewsfoto/Cellibre)
Cellibre logo (PRNewsfoto/Cellibre)

In a recent paper published in Nature Sustainability, it was estimated that the current greenhouse gas footprint of US cannabis production was equivalent to the annual emissions from over 15 million vehicles. Cellibre's patented technology could reduce the resources required to make cannabinoid-based products by as much as 100-fold. In addition, the Company's technology also solves longstanding supply chain issues associated with high costs, inconsistent production, contamination risks, testing requirements for traditional agriculture, and the evolving regulatory environment within the $100+ billion cannabinoid product market.

"Our cannabinoid platform is an extremely exciting application of employing biology as a manufacturing technology and is also a case study on why our scientific approach is fundamentally advantaged to the strategies employed by traditional synthetic biology companies. By selecting organisms with the proper primary metabolism as a starting point for engineering, we believe we will transform how humans make an almost limitless number of products" said Ben Chiarelli, founder and chief executive officer of Cellibre. "I am incredibly humbled by what our team has accomplished. I believe we have one of the deepest and broadest intellectual property portfolios in cultured cannabinoids and this raise will allow us to partner with innovators in the health, wellness and consumer products sectors to bring these amazing ingredients to store shelves."

"We are a product company, not an organism company," said Dr. Nicky Caiazza, Cellibre's founder and chief scientific officer. "We knew legacy platforms like E. coli would not be able to express complex plant enzymes and that cells like baker's yeast lack the optimal primary metabolism for making cannabinoids. So, we went to nature to start closer to the finish line and the results speak for themselves. In less than 24 months, our team has gone from ideation to pilot scale production, and we are producing cultured CBG, CBGV, and THCV at commercially viable titers. The team has also engineered cells for manufacture of CBC, CBCV, CBN, CBD and CBDV."

Cellibre's lead investor, Merida Capital Holdings, is considered a top institutional investor in the broader cannabinoid market with a deep understanding of the sector's ecosystem. The partnership provides invaluable access and insight to the Cellibre team as they scale their first cell factories and thereby fundamentally change how cannabinoid-based products are made, formulated, and consumed.

"There will always be consumer demand for the plant itself, but as we think about the industry evolving, it appears clear that in a post-legalized world, traditional CPG and pharma companies will buy cultured cannabinoids that provide the most consistency, purity, and safety at the lowest price point. We believe that Cellibre's technology will not only unlock these new products and innovations but also augment the traditional markets we have been investing in for years" said Mina Mishrikey, Senior Partner at Merida Capital Holdings. "In addition, we have been monitoring this technology space for some time and the Cellibre team has, in less time with fewer resources, developed a class-leading platform for cannabinoid production. As they translate the success in cannabinoids to other industry verticals, the sky really is the limit for what we believe this team can accomplish."

Sherrard, German & Kelly, P.C. acted as advisors and legal counsel to Cellibre. Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C. acted as legal counsel to Merida Capital Partners.

About Cellibre

Cellibre is a sustainable manufacturing technology company that employs an organism-agnostic approach to turn cells into specialized, sustainable factories for the manufacture of globally significant products at scale. Our world-class scientific team has led programs from ideation to commercial, pioneering revolutionary breakthroughs in energy, ingredients, medicines and more. Cellibre's initial strategic focus will be deploying our expertise to enable the production of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, alleviating the need for agriculture entirely and revolutionizing the way cannabinoid-based medicines are sourced, produced, and consumed.

Cellibre was founded in 2017 and headquartered in San Diego, California. For more information visit www.cellibre.com.

About Merida Capital Holdings

Merida Capital Holdings is a private equity firm targeting fundamental growth drivers which accelerate the rapid development of the cannabis and hemp industries. Merida's motto, "Responsible Investing in the Cannabis Ecosystem", highlights its focus on governance while identifying leading cultivation technologies, products and services associated with the evolution of cannabis and hemp as agricultural products, plant-based medicines, constituents in pharmaceutical formulations and recreational consumer products. For more information, please visit www.meridacap.com or follow Merida on twitter @meridacap.

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