The firm, which has been stuck in regulatory limbo for years as the FDA mulls over its technology, posted net losses of $4.4m in the year to the end of December, up from $2.7m last year.
However, it has also raised $6m via a placing of shares with existing shareholders, said CEO Dr Ronald Stotish, who said he expected the company’s AquAdvantage genetically engineered (GE) salmon would gain regulatory approval later this year.
The GE salmon contains a growth hormone gene from the faster-growing Chinook salmon that is effectively ‘turned on’ all year round instead of only during the warmer months, which halves the time the fish takes to reach maturity.
AquAdvantage salmon continues to attract interest from major companies in the aquaculture trade
The FDA recently extended the period for interested parties to comment on the environmental assessment of the GE salmon and the preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact by an additional 60 days, to April 26.
“We are… hopeful that the strength of law, due process and science-based regulation will prevail, and approval will be granted later this year” said Dr Stotish.
“AquAdvantage salmon (AAS) continues to attract interest from major companies in the aquaculture trade and this, together with the FDA panel of experts concluding that AAS is indistinguishable from other Atlantic salmon, is safe to eat and does not pose a threat to the environment under its conditions of use, reaffirms our belief that there will be a significant demand for our product.
“Additionally, as a result of the recent fundraising, we now have the necessary funds to begin the initial commercialization program once approval is granted.”
$6m cash injection ‘only sufficient to implement the initial commercialization phase’
In May 2012, AquaBounty started a new commercial scale trial of its salmon in Panama, said the firm.
“This new batch of fish are thriving and performing in line with the company’s expectations, once again clearly demonstrating the benefits of this product.
“The company continues to receive enquiries from prospective producers, within the US and elsewhere, that are enthusiastic about the commercial prospects of the fish.”
Looking ahead, the Board recognizes that the $6m cash injection is “only sufficient to implement the initial commercialization phase and will not be sufficient to enable the company to reach profitability”, it acknowledged.
However, “once AAS is approved for commercial development, appropriate plans will be finalized”, added the firm.
Click here to read our March 2013 exclusive interview with Dr Stotish.