CULT Food Science Corp., an investment platform with an exclusive focus on cellular agriculture has made an investment in Pearlita Foods, which is said to be the world’s first cell-based mollusk company. Pearlita has also received funding from Sustainable Food Ventures and Big Idea Ventures New Protein Fund.

Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Pearlita has set out to make cultivated oyster meat. Pearlita aims to produce oysters—with no reliance on the ocean or live animals—by using stem cells and bioreactors to produce cell-based oysters that have rich flavor and substantial nutrition consumers expect. By investing in Pearlita, CULT is supporting the future of cell-based seafood, which aligns with its goals to help commercialize cellular agriculture and make it more common in the global food supply chain.

Oysters used to be abundant around the world, however, today over 85% of wild oyster reefs have been lost globally, according to an article entitled “85 Per Cent of Worlds Oyster Reefs have Vanished,” which appeared on The Fish Site, May 22, 2009, (

Oysters are also one of the most expensive seafood products in the world, and oyster farming relies solely on the ocean. With ocean temperatures rising and contamination increasing, the future of oyster farming is uncertain. Cell-based fish and mollusks can be made with current technologies and are currently viewed as being a safe alternative to seafood farming that can provide desired health benefits for consumers, according to an article that appeared in Forbes (July 22, 2019) entitled, “Cell-Based Seafood: 4 Important Facts Everyone Should Know.”

“We are so excited to have CULT part of our journey,” says Nikita Michelsen, chief executive officer of Pearlita. “It is truly inspiring to be part of a portfolio filled with so many forward-thinking and passionate companies that believe in a future without reliance on live animals for human consumption and that are passionate about building a better with biology. With this investment Pearlita is one step closer to bringing healthy and nutritious oysters to the plates of seafood lovers.”

“We are pleased to have made an investment in Pearlita, especially alongside some of the world’s most forward-thinking funds in the cellular agriculture space,” says Lejjy Gafour, president of CULT. “CULT wholeheartedly supports Pearlita’s mission and goals focused on cell-based seafood. We believe that the passion of the people at Pearlita will result in great strides being made in cell-based seafood sector, particularly regarding fish and mollusks. We are excited to not only continue allocating capital toward great ventures like Pearlita in the cellular agriculture market, but also to continue developing our own intellectual property and participate directly in the evolution of the industry.”