Chief executive Lou Cooperhouse outside BlueNalu's San Diego HQ. Photo: BlueNalu.

Cell-based seafood maker raises $60m for next step

BlueNalu, which grows seafood directly from fish cells, has raised $60 million (£43.9m) from new and existing investors, the largest financing to date in the cell-based seafood industry. It previously raised $20m in early 2020.

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The San Diego-based company said the financing would enable it to achieve several significant milestones over the coming year, including opening a nearly 40,000 square foot pilot production facility, completing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory review for its first products, and initiating marketplace testing in a variety of foodservice establishments throughout the United States.

BlueNalu plans to introduce a wide variety of cell-based seafood products from its pilot production facility. The company anticipates starting with the launch of mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) later this year, followed by the launch of a premium bluefin tuna.

BlueNalu whole muscle yellowtail prepared in different ways. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: BlueNalu.

Next phase

“This recent financing will allow us to continue advancing our mission and the next phase of our commercialisation plans, while we continue to develop strategic partnerships that we expect will provide us with global market reach during the coming years,” chief executive Lou Cooperhouse said in a press release.

BlueNalu’s chief financial officer Amir Feder said: “The global market for seafood is highly vulnerable today and is valued at an estimated $200 billion.

“With strong investor support, our innovative and visionary management team demonstrates a clear value proposition, technology, intellectual property, and a comprehensive regulatory strategy, all of which provide a solid foundation as we move closer to our in-market launch.”

Venture partnerships

The company said it is establishing joint venture partnerships within key markets where it will operate. These are expected to enable BlueNalu to navigate regulatory pathways, lower the cost of goods, introduce new species and new product forms, and inform its global market strategy. BlueNalu’s previously announced global strategic investment partners include Netherlands-based feed manufacturer, owner of salmon feed producer Skretting.

Other investors include UK-headquartered Agronomics, a leading listed investor in alternative proteins with a focus on cellular agriculture and cultivated meat.