Million dollar investment announced to scale RNA-based solutions in aquaculture

ViAqua Therapeutics announces US$4.3mn investment led by S2G Ventures. (Image source: ViAqua)

Biotechnology company, ViAqua Therapeutics announced the completion of a US$8.25mn investment led by S2G Ventures to scale RNA-based solutions in aquaculture 

According to an analysis from Kontali, disease management is currently the biggest issue facing the aquaculture industryresulting in more than US$8.5bn in economic impact for the shrimp industry alone. Among the various aquatic species, shrimp in particular, are highly susceptible to disease, given their lack of adaptive immune systems and available products to address shrimp disease such as the White Spot Virus (WSSV), which causes an annual loss of around US$3bn, along with a 15% reduction in global shrimp production. 

ViAqua has therefore developed a biotechnology-based oral delivery platform for the targeted administration of RNA-based solutions to improve disease resistance in aquaculture. Its first product is a feed supplement to enhance resistance to viral infections in shrimp, with the initial application targeting WSSV. This solution will provide much-needed production stability for farmers while also creating the opportunity to increase production per farm without increasing disease risk.

Produced using commercial, industrial processes, ViAqua is scaling production to take its first product to market, through its established commercial partnership by means of a joint development and marketing agreement with Skretting, a Nutreco company. 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.

CEO of ViAqua, Shai Ufaz emphasised the importance of oral delivery, given the impossibility of vaccinating individual shrimp. He further highlighted its ability to bring down operational costs of disease management, while improving outcomes. Investment director at Rabo Ventures, Shishir Sinha noted that the bank's aquaculture specialists, Gorjan Nikolik and Novel Sharma were impressed by the game-changing impact potential of the solution and believed that it would make a meaningful difference in the lives of the smallholder farmers, who represent 80% of supply. "We are truly excited by the potential of ViAqua's technology because of the value it unlocks for the planet and the farmers."

For more information, visit: