Genetically-modified salmon farm R&D company partner opens third lab facility

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The Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) works with AquaBounty and used gene editing to produce sterile finfish.

In a press release, the Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), an R&D company focused on improving productivity, efficiency and sustainability in the aquaculture industry, has opened its third facility in Victoria, Prince Edward Island.

In 2018, biotech company AquaBounty, producers of genetically modified AquaAdvantage Salmon, and CAT co-funded CAT’s research using gene editing to produce a sterile finfish for use in aquaculture. CAT holds the patents and AquaBounty receive a non-exclusive, royalty-free, license to those patents and the technology.

The facility, located in Victoria, PE, was acquired by CAT in early 2020 and became the third location for the company, tripling its Canadian footprint.

“The first health trials began at the end of September, marking an exciting achievement for the CAT team, who now oversee the largest amount of privately held AQC3/BSL 3 certified square footage in the world,” CAT wrote.

The Aquatic Animal Pathogen Containment Level 3 (AQC3), also known as the Biosafety Level 3 (BSL 3) certification allows CAT to conduct in vivo and in vitro studies with both domestic and imported aquatic animals and pathogens. The high-level designation coupled with the extensive expertise of the staff enables development of new technologies for the aquaculture industry on a global scale.

VP of Health and Nutrition and General Manager, Canadian Operations, Jason Cleaversmith said: “The acquisition of the Victoria, PE facility, supported by substantial investments in wet lab infrastructure and the recruitment of a world-class team to deliver clinical trials, underpin our intention for CAT to be the ‘go to’ company for aquaculture related contract research services. Launching our first trials is an important milestone and signifies to the world that we are open and ready for business”.

The Victoria site operates in addition to the CAT research aquarium and labs in Souris, PEI, and San Diego, California.

In 2019, all shares in leading aquaculture (CAT), were purchased by Cuna Del Mar LP (CDM), a US-based aquaculture investment fund, for an undisclosed amount from Linnaeus Capital Partners BV.