A startup in Europe is joining the race to become the first major provider of laboratory grown fish.
Bluu Biosciences has raised € 7 million in a round of financing from investors including Manta Ray Ventures, Norseken VC, Be8, CPT Capital and Lever VC to compete with a market such as BluNalu, Wild Type, and Shyok Meats to make a bid Can do. With the replacement of fish in a laboratory.
The sustainable fish market is very large and developing. Already, increasing demand for fish has led to increasing concern over the effects of over-fishery and industrial fisheries. This is the same problem as other animal-based sources of protein. The amount of demand for high quality sources of protein from the Earth’s many billion people cannot keep up with the available supply.
That’s why many cellular meat companies are focusing on fish instead of other meats like beef, pork or chicken.
“There is a lot of talent in Europe and very few companies are built in this place. If you compare it, there are very few companies in this T0 mammal space, ”said Simon Fabic, co-founder and managing director of Blue.
In Berlin-based Blueau, the focus is on salmon, trout and carp (the most popular fish in China). Other companies are dealing with tuna, salmon and shrimps, but BlueU sees carp as a particularly attractive target, one of the world’s most populous companies.
One benefit for Bluu, its founders argue, is the wild world experience of co-founder Sebastian Racers in the farming fish world.
Racers, a marine and cell biologist working for many years at the Franhofer Institute in Munich, one of Europe’s best-known research institutes, led a task force that, after researching feasibility, looked at the potential commercial viability of cell-based meat saw. Using fish cells as a component for viral production for the pharmaceutical industry.
During his research, Racers cultivated 80 different cell cultures for more than 20 different species of fish. What’s more, he was able to immortalize these cell lines.
Before imagining an endless, ever-mass-producing mass of fish cells, it might overwhelm the world, it might be worth explaining what immortal cell lines mean… really … The endless, sometimes large-scale production of self-breeding fish cells comes very close.
Most cell lines die from breeding after a certain amount of time, which means that multiple biopsies of the same animal may be required to cultivate multiple cell lines at the same time to produce large-scale meat. . Racers said Blueu could survive the move thanks to the work that had already been done to develop the cultivation of these “immortal” salmon, trout and carp cells.
“It’s such a strong competitive advantage,” said Fabich. “If you have normal cells that are not immortal, then you can only proliferate 20 to 25 times and then you need to start again with another biopsy. With immortal cells you can grow up to 100,000 times and we can double it every day. ”
With this technique in hand, Racers said he was thinking about what might happen next in his career and met with Gary Lynn, an impact investor and founder of Purple Orange Ventures.
Lynn paired the Racers with Fabich and the two stopped the Racers’ research as Blue to commercialize them. And even though there are many companies that start in the market (and in funding), Racers said there are some benefits of being late.
“Five years ago there was hardly any company visible in the development of media, hardly any company focused on bioreactor technologies on a very large scale and there was no company opting for cell-based meat, ”he said. now there are.
The company is rapidly gaining momentum thanks to other technology providers who are coming on the market and will try to produce a prototype product by the end of 2022.
The company is also pushing for regulation, which both Fabik and Racers said was one of the last remaining barriers to commercialization. Ultimately, the company’s focus is firmly on the Asian market. “This is what drives the needle,” Fabich said, in terms of stability. “We can have the greatest impact if we change production behavior.”