CNBCCell-based seafood producer BlueNalu raises $60 million as it preps for market launch

January 19, 20210

BlueNalu’s whole-muscle, cell-based yellowtail amberjack.

Source: BlueNalu

First, it was lab-grown chicken. Now, it’s seafood.

San Diego-based food start-up BlueNalu said Tuesday that it raised $60 million in convertible note financing, as it prepares for a possible market launch later this year.

“This recent financing will allow us to continue advancing our mission and the next phase of our commercialization plans, while we continue to develop strategic partnerships that we expect will provide us with global market reach during the coming years,” Lou Cooperhouse, BlueNalu’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

BlueNalu said it intends to use the funds to complete its regulatory review with the Food and Drug Administration and begin testing its products in a variety of food service locations across the U.S. The company didn’t disclose the names of any food service partners.

Plans are also underway to open a nearly 40,000-square-foot pilot production facility.

Rage Capital led this funding round. Agronomics, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, McWin, KBW Ventures and Siddhi Capital also participated.

Cell-based, or cultured, seafood is created by extracting cells from fish and growing the samples in large bioreactors. The company plans to introduce mahi mahi as its first cultured seafood item, followed by bluefin tuna.

Late last year, the Singapore Food Agency approved cell-cultured chicken made by Eat Just. This was the first lab-grown chicken to receive regulatory approval, and the company is seeking to gain additional approvals to sell its products in other markets, including the U.S.

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