In 1989, AquaBounty firm's initial research and development attempts with transgenic salmon began in cooperation with the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Canadian researchers created the AquAdvantage® transgene (genetic construct), which expressed Chinook salmon growth hormone under the control of an Ocean Pout promoter. The founder animal from which the AquAdvantage® line was derived was created by microinjection of the transgene into fertilized eggs of wild Atlantic salmon. In 1992, AquAdvantage® Salmon was established from the F1 generation of the EO-1α line.
In 1995, A/F Protein (the corporate precursor to AquaBounty Canada) established an Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) file with the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) of the U.S. FDA to pursue the development of AquAdvantage® Salmon. In 2000, A/F Protein got restructured: it changed its name to AquaBounty Farms (and changed the name of A/F Protein Canada to AquaBounty Canada), and created a subsidiary called A/F Protein (and A/F Protein Canada). AquaBounty Farms, the surviving company, retained the AquAdvantage® technology.
In 2003, AquaBounty Farms submitted to the FDA its first regulatory study for a New Animal Drug Application (NADA); and in 2004, AquaBounty Farms headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, changed its name to AquaBounty Technologies. In 2006, AquaBounty Technologies (ABTX) was listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) raising $30 million in an initial public offering of stock. In 2008, the FDA inspected AquaBounty Canada’s hatchery in PEI as an authorized production site for eggs. Following that, AquaBounty Technologies began to construct a land-based aquaculture grow out facility (AquaBounty Panama) in the highlands of Panama for the purpose of conducting trials of the Company’s AquAdvantage® Salmon. In 2009, AquaBounty Technologies submitted its final regulatory study to the FDA. CVM released Guidance 187 for the evaluation of genetically engineered animals.
The FDA inspected AquaBounty Panama’s site for the production of AquAdvantage® Salmon for import into the US and did not declare any adverse findings. In 2010, AquaBounty Technologies received section complete letters from the FDA on all seven parts of the New Animal Drug Application for AquAdvantage® Salmon. The FDA convened a Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC), a public meeting to review its findings of AquAdvantage® Salmon and concluded that it was safe to eat. In 2011, the FDA consulted with the National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which concurred with the FDA’s “no effect” findings revealing that the AquAdvantage® Salmon does not pose a threat to the environment .
Additional to the integration of the growth hormone gene from the Chinook into Atlantic salmon, AquaBounty integrated the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) of production. This production system was first employed to raise juvenile salmon, which would then be raised for another year in sea cages due to cost. However, the accelerated growth rate of AquaBounty’s genetically modified AquAdvantage Salmon allows for the entire process to be completed in 16-18 months in a closed, land-based production system .
Recently, in 2018, the company AquaBounty Technologies announced that it has issued an underwritten public offering with the goal of raising $12 million. The company plans to use the funds raised through this public offering to support its goal of continuing construction and renovations on its existing facilities in Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island, Canada, and in the state of Indiana in the United States. The company declared that capital also would be used to fund the growing of the company’s initial batches of fish at both sites, and for other general corporate purposes. The terms of the offering include an aggregate of 3,692,307 shares of common stock, and warrants to purchase up to 3,692,307 shares of common stock in the company at an offering price of US$3.25 per share .
Its first facility to produce GM-eggs was established in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, which was then followed with attempts of expansion in Rollo Bay. These eggs were then transported to Panama for fattening them in salmon farms, and then when they reach the market size, selling them in (US and) Canadian markets. In August 2017, the firm AquaBounty reported that about 4.5 tonnes of genetically modified salmon filets have been sold so far in Canada . Despite several environmental and health concerns and fair trade and consumer information, in 2018, the firm continues to produce and sell in Canadian markets.