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BLUU Seafood, a European food biotech company specializing in cultivated fish, has announced the successful completion of its Series A funding round, securing 16 million euros.
The German start-up, which grows fish protein directly from fish cells, intends to use the funding to advance its technology and prepare for the market launch of its initial products after its pilot production plant opens later this year.
Founded in 2020 by Dr. Sebastian Rakers and Simon Fabich, BLUU Seafood has secured over 23 million euros in investments since then. The company is the first in Europe to specialize in the development and production of cell-based fish. Its products are made using animal serum-free growth media and are based on proprietary, non-GMO trout and salmon cell lines.
Regulatory approval opening up consumer markets for “cultivated protein”
The injection of capital comes at a strategically important time for the company, and for the cultivated meat and fish market in general, as regulators open the way for cultivated protein to reach consumer markets in the US, EU and Asia.
The company is currently seeking regulatory approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its first range of products, focusing primarily on what it describes as “hybrid” products such as fish fingers, made with a combination of cultivated fish cells and plant-based proteins.
The United States has recently granted USDA and FDA approvals for food producted by protein start-ups GOOD Meat and UPSIDE foods, meaning that sale of cultivated products is now officially permitted. BLUU Seafood has already started the FDA approval process, and plans to apply to European regulators next.
The start-up also aims to enter the Singaporean market by 2024, where regulators approved the sale of cultivated chicken back in 2020.
New production plant scheduled for completion in autumn 2023
The investment round will also support BLUU Seafood’s preparations in establishing its pilot production plant, with construction work slated for completion during the third quarter of this year.
The opening of the plant, BLUU Seafood says in a statement, will mark a significant milestone for the company, as it transitions from laboratory-scale production to larger fermenters which are capable of accommodating volumes of up to 500 liters.
“Our successful Series A demonstrates the enormous potential that lies in cultivated fish as a platform technology for sustainable animal protein and underlines the strong scientific development that we at BLUU Seafood have delivered so far,” said Sebastian Rakers, Co-Founder and CEO of BLUU Seafood.
“Together with our strong, international investor base, we can start the next stage of development and bring our first products to market.”
The Series A funding round was led by Sparkfood and LBBW Venture Capital, with additional participation from SeaX Ventures, Manta Ray Ventures, Norrsken VC, Delivery Hero, Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg GmbH, and Dr. Oetker.
About BLUU Seafood
The food technology company Bluu Seafood (formerly Bluu Biosciences) is the first company in Europe to
specialize in the commercial production of cultivated fish. As a pioneer at the intersection of biotechnology and food technology, Bluu Seafood is producing healthy, sustainable, and delicious cultivated fish products. The aim is to produce these products in a sustainable and cost-efficient manner, thus making a significant contribution to securing the future supply of animal protein.
The food technology company, based in Berlin and with scientific facilities in Lübeck, was founded in 2020 by Dr Sebastian Rakers and Simon Fabich with an expert team of marine biologists, cell biologists, tissue engineers and food engineers. In April 2021, entrepreneur, and molecular biologist Dr Christian Dammann joined the management team as Chief Operating Officer. In research & development, Bluu Seafood cooperates closely with the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Individualized and Cell-Based Medical Engineering (IMTE, formerly EMB) in Lübeck and owns a state-of-the-art R&D environment.
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