Finless Foods

Uses cellular agriculture to grow edible fish protein in the lab, no fishing or farming required.

Michael Selden, 27;Brian Wyrwas, 25
2017 Revenue:
Food & Beverage
$3.1 million

Cellular agriculture--the production of food and other goods from cells cultured in a lab or factory--has the potential to transform the world's food systems. That can't happen fast enough when it comes to the oceans, where virtually every major fishery is dangerously overexploited, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. After studying biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and working as cancer researchers at hospitals in New York City, Mike Selden and Brian Wyrwas got the idea to bring emerging cell-ag techniques to bear on this problem. They relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and enrolled in IndieBio, an accelerator for biotech startups. In September 2017, they finally got to taste the first fruits of their labors: carp croquettes whose main ingredient was cultured from stem cells. By the end of 2019, they hope to have a commercially available product consisting of fish cells bound together by food enzymes. Selden says it will be "a lot like the tuna mash for a spicy tuna roll. It's still fish. It's just fish cells that aren't in the shape people are used to having them in." The latter, something more akin to a fish fillet, requires more sophisticated tissue engineering and is likely two years off, he says. --Jeff Bercovici