Israeli food-tech startup Wanda Fish Technologies has entered a new partnership with Tufts University in Massachusetts, US. The collaboration aims to accelerate the production of cell-cultured fish following breakthrough developments in fish cell cultivation at the famed research university.
“Marine biodiversity is critical to the survival of people and our planet. Overfishing, as well as water pollution, is damaging the vast and vital ocean ecosystem”
Two agreements have been signed between Wanda Fish and Tufts; the first being a licensing agreement giving exclusive rights to Wanda Fish of certain intellectual property in fish cell cultivation developed by Tufts researcher David Kaplan PhD, a leader in the field of cellular agriculture. Additionally, a two-year sponsored research agreement has been agreed upon, supporting Kaplan’s research into cellular agriculture-based production of fish tissue.
Kaplan is also a leading academic authority on cultivated meat, having recently received a $10 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture to establish the first national center in the US dedicated to research in cellular agriculture. Using R&D facilities in the US and Israel, Wanda Fish is establishing a proprietary, GMO-free platform for producing cell-based fish of a variety of species.
“We start with a single, one-time sample of a real native fish muscle and fat tissues,” explains Kaplan. “We then pursue the replication of the biological growth of fish, with the nutritional attributes, including protein and omega 3 content, as well as the flavor and textural properties. The results are clean, safe fish free of microplastics, mercury, or other chemical toxicities that are commonly found in some of the wild catch.”
Cultivated fish fillets
As overfishing, pollution, and marine ecosystem destruction continue to jeopardize the environment and the food system, Wanda Fish hopes the new partnership will propel its strategies for producing sustainable, cultivated fish fillets. Formed last year with financial and technical support from the Israeli Innovation Authority, Wanda Fish has already secured $3 million in pre-seed funding as it looks to save the future of the oceans through food tech.
“More than three billion people depend on the ocean and its surroundings for their living,” stresses Dr. Daphna Heffetz, CEO of Wanda Fish. “Marine biodiversity is critical to the survival of people and our planet. Overfishing, as well as water pollution, is damaging the vast and vital ocean ecosystem. Many wild fish populations are sadly in decline.”