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Mermade Seafoods swims in cell farm water to make cultured scallops – londonbusinessblog.com

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mermade seafood is out to disrupt the $8 billion global scallop market with its circular cellular agricultural technology approach to producing cultivated scallops.

The Israeli company was founded in July 2021 by CEO Daniel Einhorn, CTO Dr. Rotem Kadir and COO Dr. Tomer Halevy. Einhorn, who has navy – which explains his love of the sea – and adventurous backgrounds, met Kadir and Halevy at his venture studio, Tech7. They clicked with the idea for cell-based seafood, and Einhorn suggested they become their partner.

Mermade Seafoods’ technology aims to streamline production and deliver a tasty scallop, the company’s first product cheaper than alternative proteins currently available.

As Einhorn explains, cell cultured foods, like other animals and we humans, express biological waste, and it is usually thrown away. Mermade Seafoods’ differentiator uses that bio-waste, made from water, ammonia and carbon dioxide, to feed algae. That alga is then used as a growth medium to nourish the cells. The company calls this interpretation of aquaponics “cytoponics” and has filed several related patent applications.

This recycling method isn’t just for seafood, but it’s already being used in other cell-based applications, such as pharmaceuticals, Einhorn told londonbusinessblog.com. Another unique feature is that it reduces the cost of cultured cell production, which relies heavily on expensive growth media that can account for between 55% and 90% of the cost. This is partly why cultured meat is difficult to scale, Einhorn added.

The fish market as a whole is expected to reach $193.9 billion by 2027, with another report saying, “Scallops are one of the most traded and most consumed seafood in the world and the vast majority of production comes from aquaculture.”

And it seems to be growing fast to boot. In 2018, the global scallop market was: valued at over $5.8 billion “With farms producing almost three times as much biomass as the entire wild crop.”

Even with all that production, it is common knowledge that food production in general will not be able to meet population demand in the coming decades. Plantish and BlueNalu are working on alternative protein sources.

And also catch the eyes of investors. After chicken and beef, alternative seafood accounts for only about 0.1% of the total US seafood retail market, according to a Report from the Good Food Institute. Collectively, 15 startups in this area raised $175 million in 2021, double the amount raised in 2020, GFI reported. In fact, that figure is even bigger because there were nine other deals that didn’t disclose financing amounts.

Mermade Seafoods is one of the last to receive funding, raising $3.3 million in seed funding from a group that includes OurCrowd, Fall Line and Sake Bosch. The investment closed in June and will allow the company to hire more stem cell and algae researchers to develop its product and reach lab-scale production by 2023, Einhorn said.

He says being commercially ready is still a tough question to answer, although the company has plans for five years.

“To get to that lab-scale production, we’re talking a few tenths of a unit, and we want to be there by 2023,” Einhorn added. “We want to reduce the cost of scallops and we are looking for a very significant cost reduction in this round.”

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