US: BlueNalu promotes Madden to chief technology officer

Lauran Madden, BlueNalu
Lauran Madden

San Diego-based BlueNalu, which is developing seafood products directly from fish cells, has appointed Lauran Madden as chief technology officer, tasked with steering the company’s next phase of growth, and leading research and development innovations in preparation for the initial market launch of its cell-cultured seafood products.

Madden joined BlueNalu in 2018 as its first employee and has been instrumental in developing the technology strategy as vice-president of research and product development. The R&D team created a robust cell line development platform for finfish, optimised the performance and decreased the cost of cell culture media, removed animal components from the formulation, and producing a variety of prototype seafood products with sensory, functional and nutritional characteristics consistent with conventional counterparts.

In her new role, Madden will continue her oversight of core R&D, supply chain strategy and cost optimisation, bioprocess design and development, culinary science, product development and intellectual property, with an initial focus on scaling up the production of quality, high-value bluefin tuna products. Her guidance will also inform key areas including the company’s expansion into future product lines, strategic collaborations, infrastructure, intellectual property, and further build out of the R&D team.

BlueNalu stated it has “developed significant intellectual property designed to result in a scalable process with the least possible cost and greatest potential throughput”.

Lou Cooperhouse, co-founder, president and chief executive of BlueNalu, said: “When we decided to embark on this journey to produce seafood in a totally new way, we knew we needed someone with the vision, scientific discipline and determination to head our technology efforts and innovate from a blank slate. Since the start, Lauran has demonstrated a unique blend of creativity, thoughtfulness, leadership, and scientific expertise that has resulted in the technological differentiation we have created at BlueNalu. This promotion signifies the importance of her leadership and vision, and I’m proud to have her on the executive team as we continue forward in our journey to bring delicious, cell-cultured seafood to the market in the coming years.”

Madden commented: “It’s been incredibly motivating to see first-hand the tremendous progress our team has made – not only in the foundational biology but all the way through the technology pipeline. BlueNalu’s vision captivated me from the start. The technology we’re developing is so novel and transformational and I’m honoured to lead such a driven team that understands the positive impacts cell-cultured seafood can make on our planet.”

Madden previously worked as a scientist at Organovo, incorporating primary cells and natural biomaterials into 3D systems. She spearheaded the development of a new 3D intestinal model and made key contributions to the optimisation of primary cell expansion, formulation of bioinks, and validation of new assays. Her work led to the generation of new intellectual property, and authorship of peer-reviewed research.