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ViAqua preps to launch first product with $8.2M funding
September 5, 2023 By Hatchery International staff
Biotechnology startup, Vi Aqua Therapeutics, is getting ready to take its first product to market.
ViAqua has developed an encapsulated RNA particle that can be administered orally to improve disease resistance in shrimp aquaculture. The product is a feed supplement to enhance resistance to viral infections in shrimp, with the initial application targeting White Spot Virus (WSSV), which causes an annual loss of around $3 billion and a 15 percent reduction in global shrimp production. This solution aims to provide much-needed production stability for farmers while also creating the opportunity to increase production per farm without increasing disease risk.
“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 ViAqua CEO Shai Ufaz. “We are excited to bring this technology to market to address the need for affordable disease solutions in aquaculture.”
ViAqua completed a US$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. This first round of funding will enable ViAqua to bring its first product to market, invest in research and development for future products, and prove the platform’s ability to deliver RNA-based solutions at scale.
“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.”
In a ViAqua statement, the company shared 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 Skretting to bring the product to the market.
“While ViAqua is currently focused on shrimp production, the delivery technology has numerous applications in aquaculture and beyond, which the company is excited to explore,” the statement said.
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