Part 2: Manufacturing Molecules with Ben Chiarelli, Foudner & CEO of Cellibre

The Most Important Thing

These days, manufacturing comes with numerous barriers: economic, environmental, and social. Ben talks to us about how Cellibre is revolutionizing the industry using “cellular agriculture” making supply chains efficient and affordable, and prioritising sustainability. 

About the Guest

In his own words, Benjamin “Ben” Chiarelli is a “founder, investor, adviser, and connector.” Over the past decade, he has worked as a healthcare investment banker for the country’s biggest names, including Deloitte, Jefferies & Company, and J.P. Morgan. He has also been at the helm of teams at Millennium Health, ASCA Design LLC, and Synthetic Genomics, alongside working under movers and shakers in the science world. 

Drawing from his experience with healthcare investment banking, Ben has founded two of his own companies: private equity firm Divitempus Ventures, as well as cellular agriculture Cellibre.

About Cellibre

Founded in 2017, Cellibre develops cellular agriculture solutions for products that have traditionally had issues scaling production in a sustainable, economic, and high-quality way. Utilising the science of synthetic biology, Cellibre changes and optimizes the cells that produce the target natural product. 

The cellular agriculture company has pioneered breakthroughs in energy, ingredients, medicines, and more. Their current focus is to use their expertise in the production of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, revolutionizing the way cannabinoid-based medicines are sourced, produced, and consumed.

Episode Overview

In this second half of our chat with Ben, we pick his brain about Cellibre, sustainability, and manufacturing technology that is revolutionizing the industry. Ben deconstructs the science behind cellular technology, particularly as it pertains to cannabinoids. Comparing it to computing, we also talked about the future of technology, genetics, and our instinct for adaptation. 

With expectations for Cellibre to go commercial later this year, Ben also takes a few moments to highlight the importance of work-life balance, putting people over the company, and how radical it is to have empathy for others.

My Favorite Quotes

“We have big visions of reinventing how we make things as humanity.”

“Don’t think that you have to conquer the world every single day.”

“We think about these things (sustainability) really superficially. So, if you think about what nature is, and more fundamentally, what biology is, it’s the world’s most elegant manufacturing tech.”

“If you’re thinking about policy, or you’re thinking about business, try and think about it from the perspective of the person who has the least […] Think about it from the perspective of the guy in rural America or the kid in the inner city.”

“I want to be able to deconstruct and reconstruct nature in a way that’s sustainable, where we’re not going into the ecosystem to provide human beings with benefit.”

“How do we leverage nature to actually keep us sustainable, while at the same time, keeping the planet healthy?”

“I always want to help. I always want to get an answer, but sometimes there’s just not one.”

Episode Breakdown

03:54 - Surrounding yourself with knowledgeable people

07:02 - Connecting the technical with the business; hiring people with expertise

10:11 - Ben’s role at Cellibre as its founder

13:30 - Being a father and a founder: managing time and expectations, and being present

18:45 - Going beyond a superficial understanding of sustainability

24:11 - Decoding the astounding complexity of cannabis plants

26:47 - The state of technology, minimal cells, and the requirements for life

29:42 - Making supply chains more efficient, affordable, and sustainable at Cellibre

32:35 - Prioritising the accessibility of their product

35:16 - Facing legal barriers, focusing on CBG and CBD, and going commercial

37:04 - The limitless possibilities of cannabinoids

42:17 - Being adaptable and the future of manufacturing technology

47:28 - The importance of mental health and having empathy for others

Episode Links

Ben’s Info

Ben’s LinkedIn

Cellibre Website

83bar Website

American Made Linear Systems Website

References made in the episode

Martine Rothblatt

Peter Thiel of Founders Fund

Eric Weinstein of Founders Fund

Steve Jurvetson

Barry Schuler

Josh Wolf’s Tell Me Something Good

Daniel Gibson, Ph.D. of Codex DNA

Jennifer Doudna and CRISPR gene editing

Upside Foods (formerly, Memphis Meats)

Marc’s Info

Look Up! Patreon Community

Look Up! Website

Marc's Instagram

Marc's Twitter

Look Up! On iTunes

Look Up! On Spotify

Support this show

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.