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  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Jimi Biotech successfully develops “world’s first” deer antler stem cell line

China-based cell-ag company Jimi Biotech has announced the successful development of the “world’s first” deer antler stem cell line, making it the first company globally that is capable of mass-producing deer antler stem cells through cellular cultivation.

The spontaneously immortalised cell line has undergone over 60 passages with a doubling time of under 24 hours.

sketch of cultivated antler factory

Deer antlers hold significant cultural and dietary importance in China and other Asian countries, where they are seen as a premium health product. The market for deer antlers in China exceeds RMB 3 billion (approx. $412.1 million).

The uniqueness of deer antlers lies in their ability to undergo complete regeneration periodically under natural conditions, prompting extensive research into their anti-ageing and health benefits, especially pertaining to antler stem cells, which constitute less than 1% of the entire antler structure.

Zhehou Cao, founder of Jimi Biotech, said: “While we have significantly reduced the cost of cultivated meat, it’s important to acknowledge that achieving price parity will likely take several years. In the interim, we aim to offer products that can substantiate their premium pricing. Given the high value and popularity of deer antlers, which are often sold at tens of thousands of yuan per kilogram or more, we already have a cost advantage.”

deer antler

Earlier this year, Jimi Biotech developed “China’s first” beef cell line and first cell-based beef, but it says it is prioritising submitting the approval filing for deer antler products next year.

Cao continued: “The incorporation of deer antler stem cells can augment the value proposition of our meat offerings. We will begin by selling deer antler products, and as we continuously reduce costs, we will move on to selling cultivated beef, followed by other more affordable meats such as pork and chicken.”

Jimi Biotech successfully adapted its own cell lines to grow in suspension at more than 10 million cells per millilitre, and it has reduced the cost of serum-free media to RMB 50 RMB (approx. less than $7) per litre.

Jimi Biotech’s in-house developed JEVOS system is an AI-driven, high-throughput and automated cell evolution platform. Cao added: “Obtaining a good cell line is challenging, so we started building the JEVOS system at the end of last year. We have already obtained cell lines from multiple species, including deer, cattle, and chicken, which demonstrates the initial success of the JEVOS system. In the future, we will continuously obtain high-value and high-performing cells from various species through JEVOS.”


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