Work on the final validation of the facility to ensure compliance with EU Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is under way. Benchmark said that once fully licensed the increased capacity will allow it to significantly expand the number and range of vaccines it produces.
Benchmark added that the 2,500-square-metre facility is set to be one of the most capable EU GMP antigen production facilities in Europe.
Chief executive Malcolm Pye said: "This is a significant milestone for Benchmark. The new facility provides the foundation for the large-scale antigen manufacture and testing of our new pipeline products, and represents the engine room through which our ground-breaking products can be delivered on a large commercial scale."
The company has major interests in salmon farming through subsidiaries Fish Vet Group and Norway-based SalmoBreed, a major provider of eyed eggs. Benchmark's feed arm, Inve Aquaculture, produces larval feed formulas and nutrition additives for larvae, post-larvae, fingerlings and juveniles of different fish species.
Benchmark is among several companies involved in a project to tackle Saprolegnia – a type of water mould that can harm fish eggs and juvenile fish. The project, ‘Risk factors for escalating saprolegniosis outbreaks in salmon farms’ (RIFE-SOS), is led by Professor Pieter van West, director of the International Centre for Aquaculture Research and Development at the University of Aberdeen. It has been awarded more than £1 million in grant funding by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and UK research council BBSRC.
At the AquaNor trade show in August Benchmark launched CleanTreat, a purification system that cleanses the treatment water after delousing in well boats, ensuring the water is cleaned of all medicated particles before it is released into the environment.