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Aquaculture research centre doubles capacity for trials

The CAT has bought the Elanco lab in Victoria. Photo: CAT.
The CAT has bought the Elanco lab in Victoria. Photo: CAT.

Contract research company the Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) has finalised a deal to buy an aquatic animal research facility from Elanco Animal Health in Victoria, Prince Edward Island (PEI).

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The addition of the 46,000 square foot facility will triple the CAT’s Canadian footprint and allow it to double the number of research trials carried out annually, it said in a press release.

Work at the facility will be overseen by Jason Cleaversmith, a former general manager for aquaculture supplier AKVA group Scotland, who joined the CAT as vice president of health and nutrition and general manager of Canadian operations earlier this year.

Jason Cleaversmith:
Jason Cleaversmith: "The Victoria site has a long history of setting the gold standard for regulatory trials".

‘Exciting addition’

“The Victoria site has a long history of setting the gold standard for pivotal regulatory trials and innovation, and CAT is fortunate to have been able to acquire this state-of-the-art facility, along with several staff who are well versed in operating in a quality centric, highly regulated environment. This is a timely and exciting addition to the CAT facility network,” said Cleaversmith.

The CAT’s existing facility at Souris, PEI and the newly acquired Elanco facility are the only privately held Aquatic Animal Pathogen Containment level 3 (AQC3/BSL3) certified lab spaces in Canada.

The acquisition means the CAT will oversee the largest amount of AQC3 certified square footage in the world, enabling it to scale its research activities involving domestic and imported aquatic animals, and aquatic animal pathogens.

$4 million loan

The PEI government has helped fund the deal with a repayable loan of $4 million from the PEI Century Fund.

“The Center for Aquaculture Technologies provides vital research and development for the aquaculture industry in our province,” said Matthew MacKay, minister of economic growth, tourism and culture. “We are proud to support CAT’s expansion, that will keep jobs in the community.”

The CAT, which also has research facilities in San Diego, specialises in collaborative and contract research services, developing customised solutions to improve productivity, efficiency, and sustainability in aquaculture. In addition to expertise in fish health and nutrition, the centre offers specialised and custom services in the fields of genotyping, diagnostics, breeding, genomics, and molecular biology.

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