AquaBounty restructures to boost ‘cash runway’
AquaBounty Technologies — the Massachusetts-based company behind genetically engineered (GE) salmon — is restructuring to reduce its operating costs by approximately 30 percent and increase its “cash runway.”
Last year, the company indicated that it has enough cash to take it into the second quarter of 2012. On Friday, it announced that it is, in fact, restructuring at the end of the first quarter, in light of the continuing uncertainty surrounding the timing of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.
In September 2010, FDA scientists preliminary determined that AquAdvantage Salmon is safe for human consumption, but an FDA advisory committee subsequently determined that more research is needed. It’s been 16 years since AquaBounty submitted its first GE fish study to the FDA.
In June 2011, an amendment that would essentially handcuff the FDA from approving GE salmon for human consumption was slipped into an agriculture-spending bill, but the amendment was eventually throw out.
Then last month, Dr. Ronald Stotish, president and CEO of AquaBounty, defended AquAdvantage Salmon — which allow Atlantic salmon to grow to market size of about 8 pounds in just 18 months, compared to the usual 36 months — during a congressional hearing addressing the environmental risks associated with GE fish.