The new vaccine aims to tackle Nodavirus – a disease that impedes growth and causes high production losses – in the €300m Mediterranean seabass market. There was previously no effective treatment available for this endemic disease.
Malcolm Pye, Benchmark's CEO, commented: "This is another key milestone for Benchmark and is testament to our increased capability, as we continue to invest in our manufacturing capacity and technology, to open up new markets for the company by solving major challenges for our customers. This product represents a significant first for the company, as the full development process – including research, design, development and manufacturing – has been delivered entirely in-house by our specialist teams."
The trials will see a significant number of leading producers use the new vaccine 'on-farm' at commercial scale ahead of market authorisation, a process which typically takes 9-12 months.
Nodavirus also affects several other farmed fish – including turbot, barramundi and grouper – and Benchmark now plans to adapt the vaccine for these species.