BlueNalu’s whole-muscle, cell-based yellowtail amberjack.

Source: BlueNalu

First, it was lab-grown chicken. Now, it’s seafood.

San Diego-based food startup BlueNalu said Tuesday that it raised $60 million in convertible note financing, as it prepares for a possible market launch later this year.

“This recent financing will allow us to continue advancing our mission and the next phase of our commercialization plans, while we continue to develop strategic partnerships that we expect will provide us with global market reach during the coming years,” says Lou Cooperhouse, BlueNalu’s president and CEO, in a statement.

BlueNalu intends to use the funds to complete its regulatory review with the Food and Drug Administration and begin testing its products in a variety of foodservice establishments across the U.S. The company didn’t disclose the names of any foodservice partners.

Plans are also underway to open a nearly 40,000-square-foot pilot production facility.

Rage Capital led this funding round. Agronomics, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, McWin, KBW Ventures, and Siddhi Capital also participated.

Cell-based, or cultured, seafood is created by extracting cells from fish and growing the samples in large bioreactors. The company plans on introducing mahi mahi as its first cultured seafood item, followed by bluefin tuna.

Late last year, the Singapore Food Agency approved cell-cultured chicken made by Eat Just. This was the first lab-grown chicken to receive regulatory approval, and the company is seeking to gain additional approvals to sell its products in other markets, including the U.S.

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