Umami Meats partnering with Triplebar to develop cell-cultivated Japanese eel

Umami Meats lab growing cell-based seafood.

Emeryville, California, U.S.A.,-based biotechnology firm Triplebar has announced a collaboration with Singapore-based Umami Meats to create cell-based seafood, starting with a Japanese eel analog. 

The collaboration will aim to create cell lines to ensure low-cost cultivated fish, according to a press release.

“The solution to the global seafood problem is to leverage science and technology to make high-quality food affordably and sustainably,” Triplebar CEO Maria Cho said. “Biotechnology can make our global food system more robust, and relieve pressure on the ecosystem, which is facing a catastrophic collapse in biodiversity.”

Umami Meats secured USD 2.4 million (EUR 2.2 million) in a pre-seed funding round in March 2022, and has been working to develop a cheaper plant and algae-derived growth media designed to scale. In January 2023, it announced a partnership with NUProtein to develop a growth factor production system and a separate partnership with Steakholder Foods on 3D-printed structured eel.

“We are firm believers in technology as a tool to make seafood better, healthier, and more sustainable than conventional aquaculture and wild catch, especially for endangered species. So, we are delighted when we find the opportunity to partner with other businesses that share our vision and that have technologies that can accelerate our progress toward achieving it,” Umami Meats CEO Mihir Pershad said.

Japanese eel, also known as unagi, is considered an essential part of the country’s cuisine, but has become endangered.

“I’m certain that this collaboration between Umami Meats and Triplebar will accelerate the commercialization of cultivated seafood and the transition to a more robust and sustainable food system for everyone," Pershad said.


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