Preanimate matter or preanimate biomatter was one of the fundamental building blocks of organic life. It was not truly alive, but displayed potential.

While scanning Ceti Alpha V in conjunction with Project Genesis, the USS Reliant detected a minor energy flux reading on one of the ship's dynoscanners, leading the crew to believe that the scanner was out of adjustment, that it contained life or that a particle of preanimate matter was caught in the matrix. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

A piece of preanimate biomatter was found on an asteroid in 2377 by The Doctor, who discussed the depths of the discovery to 7 of 9. When she explained that all she saw was an undeveloped nucleus contained in a cytoplasmic matrix, The Doctor added that buried deep within the nucleus were primitive strands of DNA – "the beginnings of life." (VOY: "Body and Soul")