BERKELEY, CALIF. — Cultivated meat company Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats) has acquired Cultured Decadence, a Madison, Wis.-based cellular agriculture company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2020 by John Pattison and Ian Johnson, two veterans of the lab-grown meat industry, Cultured Decadence uses cell culture and tissue engineering to create seafood, specifically shellfish products, from animal cells. It has developed proprietary cell lines and cell feed for a variety of products, including lobster and other crustaceans.
The company last spring raised $1.6 million in funding to create the first shell-free, cell-cultured lobster meat in North America. It also received grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. administered by the Center for Technology Commercialization.
Along with complementing and expanding Upside’s product portfolio, the acquisition will accelerate commercialization of a range of seafood products grown directly from animal cells, said Uma Valeti, founder and chief executive officer of Upside Foods. Cultured Decadence will adopt Upside’s brand while remaining in Wisconsin as the company’s new Midwest Hub.
The deal follows the completion of Upside’s Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC), which opened in November in Emeryville, Calif. The 53,000-square-foot center can produce more than 50,000 lbs of ground or whole-cut cultured meat, with future capacity of more than 400,000 lbs per year. It will produce both Upside’s existing product and species portfolio as well as that of Cultured Decadence.
“Cultivated seafood has a tremendous potential to benefit the world,” Mr. Valeti said. “Cultured Decadence’s technology is incredibly promising…We’re excited that the scientific, technological and production infrastructure we have built over many years can help accelerate the mission impact of this team.”In addition to opening EPIC, Upside Foods recently announced a partnership with 3-Michelin Star chef Dominique Crenn and an investment from John Mackey, chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market. The company has raised more than $200 million to date.