AquiNovo Co-founder and Adviser Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan Wins 2017 Kaye Innovation Award

Editor’s note: News of the award appeared in All about Feed, Haaretz, Hayadan (Hebrew), Intrafish, Israel National News, Jerusalem Post, Aquaculture North America, Hatchery International and tepbac (Vietnamese).

Professor Berta Levavi-Sivan’s research led to a technology licensed by AquiNovo to accelerate growth of farmed fish, assisting in feeding the world’s growing population.

Kaye Award

Kaye Award recipient, Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan (center) with Nitza Kardish, CEO Trendlines Incubators Israel (at left) and AquiNovo CEO, Nissim Chen (at right).

AquiNovo’s co-founder and adviser to the Company, Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan, is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Kaye Innovation Award.

Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan, an aquaculture specialist at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, identified molecules that play an important role in fish reproduction, which is an energy-intensive process that slows fish growth. Prof. Levavi-Sivan joined forces with Prof. Chaim Gilon, a world-renowned chemist at the Hebrew University, to develop short peptides targeting the identified molecules, thus inhibiting the reproductive process of the fish, and channeling its energy into growth.

The technology invented by Professors Levavi-Sivan and Gilon was licensed to AquiNovo on a worldwide exclusive basis. AquiNovo is developing the technology to produce growth enhancers for farmed fish. AquiNovo’s proprietary materials will be integrated into fish feed and fed to fish using standard feeding procedures.  The company’s first two products are for tilapia and salmon and current experimental data for tilapia show ~40% growth enhancement. The value proposition for fish growers is shorter time to market and reduction of production costs and risks associated with the growth period. The technology provides a non-GM, non-hormonal solution for accelerating fish growth.

Food consumption estimates indicate an additional 27 million tons of fish production will be needed to sustain the present level of consumption in 2030. However, in 2013, the commercial marine fish stocks monitored by the FAO were already overextended, with the result that continued fishing is unsustainable and would lead to eventual depletion. To meet the growing demand for fish protein, the aquaculture industry needs sustainable solutions that increase fish yields using existing resources and infrastructure. AquiNovo’s technology addresses this challenge by developing growth enhancers for farmed fish.

AquiNovo’s CEO, Dr.  Nissim Chen, remarked: “We are extremely proud of Berta for this achievement. There is no doubt that her research has provided an important breakthrough for the aquaculture industry worldwide and we’re excited to lead this promising endeavor.”

2017 Kaye innovation Award

The Kaye Innovation Award at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been awarded annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye, a prominent English industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the award to encourage faculty, staff, and students of Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential, which will benefit the university and society.

 

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