Cell-based seafood startup BlueNalu announced Wednesday it reached an agreement with seafood giant Thai Union and Japanese industrial conglomerate Mitsubishi to explore the potential for the group's cell-based products in the Asian market.
San Diego, California-based BlueNalu signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Thai Union and Mitsubishi that will see the companies collaborate on market development strategies for the company's cell-based seafood.
The agreements, which are independent of one another, will include cooperation on market research, consumer insights, regulatory requirements and exploration of business and product opportunities that might accelerate the adoption of cell-cultured seafood across Asia.
Thai Union owns and operates dozens of seafood subsidiaries across Asia and the world. Among its divisions are North America's Chicken of the Sea and UK canned food brand John West.
Mitsubishi, meanwhile, is heavily invested in the seafood sector in its home country of Japan, and in addition owns Norway-based Cermaq Group, one of the world's largest salmon farming companies.
In January, BlueNalu closed $60 million (€49.5 million) in debt financing, led by venture capital investors and Thai Union, among others.
The financing round was the largest-ever for a cell-based seafood company, and will be used to complete the group's first commercial pilot facility for the production of its cell-based products, starting with mahi-mahi, and moving to bluefin tuna at a later stage.
BlueNalu has attracted a string of high-profile investors in the past two years, including Nutreco, owner of aquaculture feed giant Skretting; Sumitomo, a $50 billion Japanese trading company, Korean food company Pulmuone and KBW Ventures, controlled by Saudi prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal.
BlueNalu completed a Series A financing round of $20 million (€16.5 million) in early 2020, building on an earlier seed round of $4.5 million (€3.7 million) in 2018.