Elanco’s DNA-derived vaccine for pancreas disease, or PD, is far from free — “It’s too expensive,” one grower says.
Fjon Bruk was the first to try out the new vaccine. In just two or three weeks, the first DNA-vaccine fish are scheduled to be placed in seawater.
SalmonBusiness has learned that the price of this DNA vaccine is a noticeable, 166-percent more expensive than standard vaccines. That’s almost three percent pricier.
“The vaccine expense has become reasonably large. The DNA vaccine is too expensive, but everyone has to earn money. I’ll venture that the price goes down after a while, as production grows, grower Helge Daae of Fjon Bruk said.
He wouldn’t disclose what the vaccine cost.
Elanco Aqua owner, Antonio Ramiro, on the other hand comes pretty close to stating a price.
“I can’t comment on the exact number, but the amount you’ve provided sounds right,” Ramiro said, referring to its wholesale price.
Whatever the DNA vaccine’s price, it didn’t scare Daae.
“The ordinary virus vaccines were never 100 percent. Perhaps 30, 40 or 50 percent. This (DNA version), however, has proven to be about 100-percent effective. And if you’re 100-percent vaccinated in the sea, you don’t lose money,” Daae said.
“As soon as we heard this was approved for use, we were going to have it. We got the first doses that were available on the market. Ownership in Alsaker (west of Bergen) wanted to test this as fast as possible to gain experience between now and summer,” Daae said.
Romiro, too, hasn’t thought the price prohibitive for fish-farmers.
“It hasn’t been a deal-breaker so far. It’s not what concerns us. I should point out, however, that we haven’t been in contact with very many customers yet,” he said.
Fjon Bruk’s managers have great faith in the vaccine and are ready to complete switchover to the DNA-derived product.
“We’ll continue to use the vaccine fairly intensively and we’ll cut out (use of) the others. The plan for all harvested fish is to use the DNA vaccine,” Daae said.
“We have great expectations. It’s why we took off and used this in-stride. The fish were, to start, already vaccinated, but now we’re utilizing the DNA vaccine. This should provide much better protection.”