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AquaBounty produces AqaAdvantage  genetically modified salmon. Image:AquaBounty
AquaBounty produces AqaAdvantage genetically modified salmon. Image:AquaBounty

AquaBounty is offering $10 million worth of shares of its common stock to investors who want to get a taste of the genetically modified (GM) salmon business.

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“We are offering $10 million of shares of our common stock. Our stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol AQB”, said a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

“On January 14, 2020, the closing sale price of our common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market was $2.66 per share.”

“We are an aquaculture company that utilizes technology to produce fish economically and sustainably. We have over 25 years of experience raising Atlantic salmon in land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facilities and our first bioengineered product is the AquAdvantage Salmon, which can grow to harvest size faster than conventional Atlantic salmon.

North America

The company is planning on constructing new facilities across North America.

“Our near-term business plan contemplates that we will construct and operate four to five new land-based RAS farms in North America at locations close to consumer consumption.

“Each of these farms could cost $75 million to $100 million to construct. We currently have two farms in operation, a 250-metric-ton farm in Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island and  a 1,200-metric-ton farm in Indiana.”

Harvesting

AquaBounty expects that fish harvesting at the Indiana facility will start in the second quarter of 2020.

“The Rollo Bay farm will begin harvesting in the fourth quarter of 2020. Our target is to achieve an annual production output of at least 50,000 metric tons by 2027.”

The company is also working on selling its GM salmon globally. “We also are seeking regulatory approval for AquAdvantage Salmon in Brazil, Argentina, Israel, and China. Once approved in these locations we plan to commercialize through a combination of partnerships, joint ventures, and licensing arrangements.”

Broodstock

“In order to scale up our egg production capabilities, we have begun construction on a new broodstock facility at our farm site in Rollo Bay. Once completed and at full capacity, this facility will be capable of producing over ten million AquAdvantage Salmon eggs annually,” said the document.

Aqua Bounty has received a lot of backlash for its GM salmon. Many government bodies in the USA have spoken out against AquAdvantage Salmon calling it “Franken-fish” and unsuitable for human consumption.

 “There are many organizations in the United States and elsewhere that are fundamentally opposed to the development of bioengineered products,” said the document. “These groups have a history of bringing legal action against companies attempting to bring new biotechnology products to market.” The USA has been tough market for AquaBounty.

However, Canada has been investing in R&D. “We received a grant in 2009 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to fund a research program. A total of C$2.9 million was made available under the grant and we received the entire amount through December 31, 2015. Once we begin to generate revenue from any of the products from the research program, we must commence repayment of the outstanding.”

Profitable

“AquaBounty produces AquAdvantage Salmon in land-based, contained, freshwater aquaculture systems, which allows inland fish farms to be established close to major demand centers in a profitable and environmentally sustainable manner.

“Our years of experience growing Atlantic salmon in land-based farms, coupled with the economic advantage of our faster-growing AquAdvantage Salmon offers the opportunity to energize salmon aquaculture in the United States which imported more than $3.4 billion of Atlantic salmon in 2018.”

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