The joint startup will undertake the development of cultivated tilapia meat. The BioMeat partnership will hold the controlling share of the startup and be responsible for business development and funding of operations.
BioMeat Foodtech, which deals with investments in the field of cultivated meat and meat substitutes, has announced the founding of E-FISHient Protein, a joint startup with the Volcani Institute. The startup will undertake the development, manufacture, and marketing of cultivated fish meat based on non-animal serum.
BioMeat Foodtech will be the controlling partner, with 76% of E-FISHient’s share capital, and will be responsible for the startup’s business development and operational funding during the coming years. The Volcani Institute, with 10% of the shares, will provide the company with the use of the Volcani facilities and development team.
The company will be led by E-FISHient CEO Dana Levin, and BioMeat CEO Gilles Gamon and its product development will rely on a scientific team led by Dr. Jakob (Kobi) Biran, head of the research lab at the Volcani Institute, who specializes in genome editing and neuroendocrine regulation of stress and metabolism in food fish, with an emphasis on tilapia.
R&D at E-FISHient creates a technological knowledge base focused on the isolation of cells that have the potential for differentiation into muscle cells and on their long-term storage and will develop the knowledge base with a view to building an artificial growth medium for cultivated fish meat requiring only non-animal serum. The serum itself is an additional product, and a significant one, intended to serve the general industry of lab-grown meat.
The company will target its operations to make the acquired knowledge an effective basis for growing cultivated tilapia meat on a commercial scale, expanding to cultivated meat of additional fish species, and for broadening the range of products that may be developed.
As mentioned, E-FISHient will also undertake the development of an artificial serum that may become a related commercial product of significance for the company in the cultivated meat industry. At the end of the R&D phase, the company intends to complete its characterization of the differentiation process of tilapia cells taken from culture and sorted into mature muscle fiber.
The CEO of E-FISHient, Dana Levin, says: “I’m proud of the opportunity to lead E-FISHient toward becoming a global player that spearheads innovation in the field of cultivated fish production. The huge ecological damage from the fishing industry, together with the expected growth in world population, calls for an urgent solution that will supply clean, healthful, nutritious, ecologically sound, high-quality fish meat for us and for the sake of the planet. I’m pleased to be advancing this trailblazing research, together with the Volcani Institute under Dr. Kobi Biran, and set out to bring the world a new message in terms of the fish that we humans consume.”
The Nile tilapia is one of the most commonly grown species in global aquaculture. It enjoys a broad target market both as a whole fish and as a fillet, providing business potential for the development of cultivated tilapia meat. Dr. Biran’s lab is highly experienced in molecular analysis, genome editing of tilapia cell lines and the whole tilapia, and in identifying endocrine regulation mechanisms for the development of tilapia muscle.