NESS ZIONE, Israel, March 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Foodtech start-up Wanda Fish Technologies, Ltd. signed two agreements with Tufts University to advance the company’s goals in the emerging field of farmed fish. Under a license agreement, Wanda fish obtains exclusive rights to certain intellectual properties in the culture of fish cells developed by Tufts searcher David Kaplan, leader in the field of cellular agriculture. Additionally, a two-year sponsored research agreement with the university supports Kaplan’s research into fish tissue production based on cell agriculture. Taken together, the moves will significantly propel Wanda Fish strategies to produce sustainable and tasty farmed fish fillets.
Around 20% of the protein currently consumed by the world’s population comes from the ocean. As a very satiating and nutritionally dense food source, the appetite for seafood, and especially fish, is only likely to continue to grow. This puts increasing pressure on the existing seafood industry to keep pace, not to mention the already overstretched waterways.
“More than three billion people depend on the ocean and its environment to live,” says Dr. Daphna Heffetz, CEO of Wanda fish. “Marine biodiversity is essential to the survival of people and our planet. Overfishing, along with water pollution, is damaging the vast and vital ocean ecosystem. Many wild fish populations are sadly in decline.” Heffetz brings over 20 years of experience building and growing biotech companies.
Producing seafood from fish cells is a niche within the alternative protein scene that is rapidly gaining momentum in the collective quest to meet the challenges of the seafood industry. Wanda fish was created last year with financial and technical support from the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and in collaboration with The Kitchen FoodTech Hub. Wanda fish already secure $3 million in its pre-seed funding round led by The Strauss Group, The Kitchen FoodTech Hub. He has also secured investments from Peregrine Ventures, Pico Partners, CPT Capital and MOREVC.
The Wanda development team at Israel is led by the R&D director Malkiel CohenPh.D., a respected expert in stem cells and genome engineering for the biomedical and AagTech fields.
To create a top-notch multidisciplinary R&D team, the team turned to Kaplan, a Stern family professor of engineering at Tufts University, eminent university professor, professor and director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. A recognized expert in biopolymer engineering, Kaplan is also a leading academic authorityy on cultured meat, having recently received a USD $10 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to establish the first national center in the United States dedicated to cellular agriculture research.
The closest ain’t close enough
Utilizing R&D facilities in the United States and Israel, Wanda fish establishes a proprietary, non-GMO platform for the production of cell-based finless fish fillets from different species, without placing a burden on the ocean and the life force it contains. “We start with a single, unique sample of real native fish muscle and fat tissue,” Kaplan explains. “We then continue to replicate the biological growth of the fish, with the nutritional attributes including protein and omega 3 content, as well as flavor and texture properties. The results are clean and safe fish, free of microplastics , mercury, or other chemical toxicities commonly found in some wild catch.”
Heffetz reveals that the team has already made progress in developing its first fish fillet prototype directly from fish cells. “Our platform includes animal-free culture medium, expertise in native muscle and fat tissue production, and specially customized bioreactors that will give us the ability to scale up production and eventually bring our fish products farmed at cost parity with their conventionally fished counterparts,” says Heffetz. “By integrating innovative proprietary applications from multiple disciplines, including cell culture, biotechnology, food technology and culinary design, we will produce a versatile range of fish species to satisfy all preferences, at affordable prices and with uncompromising quality.
“Having already nurtured a successful business in meat farming, Wanda fish cements our leadership position in the relatively nascent category of cellular agriculture,” enthuses Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub. “With the increasing acidification, pollution and warming of our oceans, a growing world population and the simultaneous decline of marine biomass and its fish populations, the need to rehabilitate the sea and marine life has never been so pressing. Wanda fish offers a new approach to meet the growing global demand for nutritious seafood without harming aquatic life. With cultured fish, the world can eat the fish it wants while giving the ocean and its ecosystems space to heal.”
For more information please contact:
Wanda Fish Technologies
Dr. Daphna Heffetz, CEO
E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]
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SOURCEWanda Fish Technologies