From left: Angela Ashby, head of clinical services, Pharmaq Analytiq Scotland; Ruaraidh MacNeil, HIE; and Chris Matthews, Pharmaq Analytiq Scotland. Photo: Pharmaq.

Pharmaq to open new lab for faster fish health analysis

Pharmaq Analytiq Scotland has announced the opening of a dedicated molecular biology laboratory at Solasta House on Inverness Campus following its acquisition of Fish Vet Group from Benchmark Holdings last year.

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The new laboratory, which will open in the summer, complements the existing digital pathology, microbiology and environmental laboratories already in Inverness and will deliver faster results to Scottish salmon farms using PCR to safeguard the health of fish populations.

Chris Matthews, Pharmaq Analytiq’s business unit director in the UK and Ireland, said: “Raising healthy fish to meet the demands of our growing global population while respecting the environment is critical for a healthier, more sustainable future.

Inverness Campus is a growing hub for aquaculture service, research and development activity.

Improved service

“Innovative fish health management tools, across the continuum of care and including vaccines and diagnostic testing, will help us better meet the needs of our customers. We are excited to strengthen our diagnostic operations in Scotland. This new opening will create three new highly skilled positions in Inverness and deliver an improved service for our customers worldwide.

“High quality, rapid molecular techniques including PCR are at the centre of preventative health work in aquaculture but are also now finding application in how we monitor the surrounding environment or even the resilience of farms against the effects of climate change.”

In-country services

Nils Arne Grønlie, general manager of Norway-headquartered Pharmaq Analytiq, said the investment marked the beginning of a new and exciting period for the company’s operations in Scotland.

“The laboratory completes the range of services delivered entirely in-country, and we intend now to further develop our infrastructure in Inverness,” added Grønlie.

“The heart of our business will always be the veterinary diagnosticians, pathologists and scientists which make up our team. Yet monitoring the health of fish and their environment will look different in ten years and together with R&D colleagues at (parent company) Zoetis we are at work on the next generation of monitoring tools which will further evolve how preventative health programmes are approached in Scotland and elsewhere.”

R&D hub

Inverness Campus was developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and opened in 2015 as a world-class location for the life sciences and technology sectors. It is a growing hub for aquaculture service, research and development activity.

Ruaraidh MacNeil, director of business infrastructure for the Campus, said: “Human and animal health including aquaculture are key focuses for activity at the Campus. Inverness has long been an important centre for the aquaculture industry, but the location of Pharmaq Analytiq alongside the organisations already on-site working in the sector and the collaborative possibilities this brings is truly exciting.”