Startup firm Novella will supply botanical ingredients using cell cultures


The company is using cell cultures to create ingredients that would otherwise need to be extracted from traditionally grown plants.

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Nutri-tech startup company Novella Ltd. (Modi’in, Israel) is using cell-culture technology to grow nutritious botanical ingredients, sidestepping the need to grow botanicals using traditional agricultural methods and extracting ingredients from them.

“The traditional ‘field to bottle’ protocol for producing nutraceuticals involves a long, complex, and often vexing process of lengthy cultivation and labor-intensive harvesting of sensitive botanicals, and the use of vast stretches of agricultural land,” the firm’s press release states. “Then, the raw materials must be transferred—often overseas—to a factory for extraction before transfer to another factory, often in yet another country, for formulation into a final supplement. This can also lead to difficulties in achieving standardized doses of the natural substances.”

“We have the technology where we can narrow the harvest of an entire filed for its plant essence in a single bioreactor,” added Kobi Avidan, CEO and cofounder of Novella.

Rather than growing the entire plant, the company says it is able to screen specific plant tissues (stems, fruit, leaves, flowers) to find the highest concentrations of desired active ingredients. “A cell culture (callus) is formed from these tissues and amplified in bioreactors. This results in a pure, pesticide-free, powdered product composed of whole-cell plant tissues with their naturally occurring complex of nutrients intact.”

Avidan added, “Growing nutrients outside the plant is actually a simpler process than growing meat cells outside of the cow.” The company is initially targeting high-end botanicals.

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