AquaBounty stays in the red but touts progress in commercial launch of GM salmon

The company is now looking for an existing RAS facility or a site to build a new plant for the commercial production of its fish.

Genetically modified (GM) salmon producer AquaBounty Technologies posted yet another loss in the full financial year of 2016, as it continued to prepare the commercial launch of its AquAdvantage Salmon (AAS).

The firm reported an operating loss of $8.1 million (€7.5 million) in the year, widening its deficit from $7 million (€6.5 million) the year earlier.

Net loss for the period amounted to $8.4 million (€7.8 million), the accounts showed.

AquaBounty said it is now actively looking for either an existing land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility or a site on which to build a new facility for the commercial production of AAS, both in the United States and Canada.

During the year, AquaBounty received regulatory approval from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for the production, sale and consumption AAS.

It also started field trials of AAS in Argentina and Brazil, and purchased the former Atlantic Sea Smolt hatchery site on Prince Edward Island for broodstock expansion and egg production.

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Renovations to the site are proceeding, and, when completed, it is expected to provide sufficient egg production to meet the company’s requirements for the next several years.

In Panama, the company received approval for the commercial production and export of fish produced from its most recent batch of AAS eggs delivered to the farm in 2016. These fish are expected to be ready for harvest and export to North America in early 2018. 

In November, the company completed a $10 million (€9.3 million) convertible debt facility with Intrexon Corporation, and in January this year it raised a further $25 million (€23.3 million) from Intrexon via an equity subscription while at the same time listing on the NASDAQ stock market.

This gave the company a "solid footing" to keep working on commercializing AAS.

Ronald Stotish, chief executive officer of AquaBounty, described 2016 as a "highly successful year in which we continued to advance both our regulatory and commercial goals. 

"We achieved a major milestone in receiving regulatory approval from Health Canada, making it the second major regulatory organization, alongside the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration], to approve the production, sale and consumption of our AquAdvantage Salmon," he said.

"We also took steps towards progressing our commercial plan by purchasing a salmon hatchery site in Canada for broodstock expansion and egg production."

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