ISRAEL – Biotechnology company ViAqua Therapeutics has successfully raised US$8.25 million in an investment round led by S2G Ventures.

The funds will be utilized to scale ViAqua’s RNA-based solutions in aquaculture, with a focus on disease management, particularly addressing the significant economic impact caused by diseases in the shrimp industry.

Disease management is a critical concern for the aquaculture industry, resulting in more than US$8.5 billion in economic impact for the shrimp industry alone, according to an analysis from Kontali.

Shrimp, in particular, are highly susceptible to diseases, leading to substantial losses, with the White Spot Virus (WSSV) causing an annual loss of around US$3 billion and a 15% reduction in global shrimp production.

ViAqua has developed a biotechnology-based oral delivery platform for the targeted administration of RNA-based solutions to enhance disease resistance in aquaculture.

The company’s initial product is a feed supplement designed to improve resistance to viral infections in shrimp, with the primary focus on combating WSSV.

The solution aims to provide stability in production for farmers, reduce disease risk, and potentially increase production per farm.

In addition, the company has established a commercial partnership with Skretting, a Nutreco company, through a joint development and marketing agreement.

ViAqua is scaling production to bring its first product to market and is currently focused on shrimp production.

However, the delivery technology has broader applications in aquaculture, presenting opportunities for future expansion.

Shai Ufaz, CEO of ViAqua, emphasized the significance of oral delivery, especially for shrimp, where individual vaccination is impractical.

He highlighted the potential for ViAqua’s technology to reduce operational costs related to disease management and improve outcomes for farmers.

Investment director at Rabo Ventures, Shishir Sinha, expressed excitement about ViAqua’s technology, recognizing its game-changing impact potential.

Sinha believes that the solution can make a meaningful difference in the lives of smallholder farmers, who represent 80% of the supply chain.

In related news, Willow Ingredients, a raw material distributor, has entered a supply partnership agreement with microalgae specialist HuveNutra to develop HuvePure DHA, a microalgae-derived lipid biomass serving as a sustainable alternative to fish oil in animal feed.

The partnership aims to provide a reliable and environmentally friendly plant-based source of omega-3 DHA for animal nutrition.


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