Founded September 2014
Stage Technology development
Investor The Trendlines Group
CEO Shai Ufaz, PhD
ViAqua’s platform for improving resistance to viral diseases in shellfish and fish utilizes a proprietary RNAi particle formulation that triggers a cell reaction to disable the viral infection. The coated particles are delivered via feed or immersion to produce maximum effect and to reduce costs.
Orally administered health management platform to prevent diseases in aquaculture • Diseases cause 10% to 20% losses in shrimp aquaculture • Annual global shellfish market: $36 billion; 10% annual growth • Successful trials in United States, Thailand
Molecular biologist; experience in biotechnology, genetic engineering, protein expression; Project Manager, Protalix Biotherapeutics, TransAlgae; PhD, plant genetics
Marine biologist; experience in product development, management; VP Development and Projects, TransAlgae; CEO, Aurora-V; MSc, ecology systematics and evolution
Extensive development in fields of drug delivery and nanotechnology, including RNAi delivery method licensed to Monsanto; Assistant Professor Chemical Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Robert Langer, MIT
More than 17 years of experience in formulation and delivery system development, scale-up of microencapsulation technologies; previously, COO and CTO, Sol-Gel Technologies
Over 20 years of experience in senior executive positions; previously, head of R&D, Hazera; VP R&D Pharma API, Perrigo; engineering and operations, Intel
Preventing and treating disease, particularly viral infections, is one of the major challenges facing aquaculture today. Currently, drugs to combat aquaculture diseases are generally injected into shellfish/fish one at a time. This labor-intensive and costly solution is relevant for large premium fish such as salmon, but it leaves shellfish and small fish unprotected, resulting in production losses of 20% or greater in certain species.
The underdeveloped area of virus/disease treatment in aquaculture is becoming a focus of interest and activity as the drive to increase food production for feeding the world’s growing population intensifies.
ViAqua’s first product is for shrimp, the most important aquaculture commodity, which accounts for 20% of the total international trade value of fish products. According to the USDA, diseases cause 10% to 20% losses in shrimp aquaculture. Delivery presents a major challenge for effective, economical treatment. Treatment for other shellfish (e.g., lobster, crab) and fish will follow.