ViAqua expects to bring its first product to market in 2024
ViAqua Therapeutics, a biotechnology company and developer of an orally administered RNA-particle platform to promote and improve animal health in aquaculture, has completed a U.S. $8.25 million round led by S2G Ventures with participation from Rabo Ventures, The Trendlines Group Ltd., Agriline Limited, Nutreco, I-Lab Angels and Circle Investments LLC.
Disease management is currently the biggest issue facing the aquaculture industry, resulting in more than $8.5 billion in economic impact for the shrimp industry alone, according to an analysis from Kontali.
To address this problem, ViAqua has developed a biotechnology-based oral delivery platform for the targeted administration of RNA-based solutions to improve disease resistance in aquaculture. In particular, shrimp are very susceptible to disease due to their lack of adaptive immune systems, and there are currently no products available that address shrimp disease today.
“Oral delivery is the holy grail of aquaculture health development due to both the impossibility of vaccinating individual shrimp and its ability to substantially bring down the operational costs of disease management while improving outcomes,” said Shai Ufaz, chief executive officer of ViAqua. “We are excited to bring this technology to market to address the need for affordable disease solutions in aquaculture.”
The company’s first product is a feed supplement to enhance resistance to viral infections in shrimp, with the initial application targeting White Spot Virus (WSSV). It’s anticipated that this solution will provide much-needed production stability for farmers while also creating the opportunity to increase production per farm without increasing disease risk.
“Aquaculture is critical for the sustainable supply of marine protein,” said Kate Danaher, managing director of S2G Ventures’ Ocean and Seafood fund. “ViAqua’s platform technology will enable the company to move beyond WSSV to address numerous other diseases in aquaculture while similar technologies are still years away from reaching the market.”
ViAqua produces its capsule products using commercial and industrial processes and is scaling production to take its first product to market. With plans to begin production in India at the beginning of 2024, the company has established a commercial partnership through a joint development and marketing agreement with feed company Skretting to bring the product to the market. While ViAqua is focused on shrimp production, the technology has numerous applications in aquaculture and beyond.
“We are truly excited by the potential of ViAqua’s technology because of the value it unlocks for the planet and the farmers. Diseases cause mortality rates of up to 50 percent, which result in 25 to 30 percent of shrimp farms failing annually. This is tremendously unproductive and hurts a lot of livelihoods,” said Shishir Sinha, investment director at Rabo Ventures. “Our bank’s aquaculture specialists Gorjan Nikolik and Novel Sharma were impressed by the game-changing impact potential of having a solution for an issue that has plagued the sector for decades and can make a meaningful difference in the lives of the smallholder farmers, who represent 80 percent of supply.”
Now that you've reached the end of the article ...
… please consider supporting GSA’s mission to advance responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances. The Advocate aims to document the evolution of responsible seafood practices and share the expansive knowledge of our vast network of contributors.
By becoming a Global Seafood Alliance member, you’re ensuring that all of the pre-competitive work we do through member benefits, resources and events can continue. Individual membership costs just $50 a year.
Not a GSA member? Join us.
Responsible Seafood Advocate
Innovation & Investment
Norway-based software and data analytics firm Manolin launched a service to automatically alert farmers about nearby non-notifiable diseases.
Health & Welfare
The international seafood marketplace is pleading with the farmed shrimp supply chain to control diseases that wreak havoc on the global supply chain.
Health & Welfare
A RT-qPCR study on shrimp with GAV infections showed infection loads could differ among different gill filaments and pleopods from the same shrimp.
Health & Welfare
Israeli companies ViAqua Therapeutics and TransAlgae say their orally administered medicines for shrimp and fish aquaculture are in the pipeline.