Genetically engineered salmon company expects US regulatory OK in 2013

Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:25pm EDT
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By Carey Gillam

CHICAGO, April 23 (Reuters) - AquaBounty Technologies Inc expects regulatory approval by the fourth quarter of this year to produce its controversial genetically engineered salmon, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

"There have been no new legal issues, no new regulatory issues, no new environmental issues raised," AquaBounty Technologies Chief Executive Ronald Stotish said on the sidelines of the BIO International Convention. "We should have approval before the end of the year."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is due to close a public comment period on Friday and will then likely take 30 to 60 days to review the comments, which include heavy opposition from consumer and environmental groups.

It could take another 120 days after that for the FDA to issue final approval, Stotish said.

"We're hopeful that the FDA will conclude the process," he said. "We can go on then and begin to grow our business."

The salmon, trade named AquAdvantage, would be an all-female population with eggs produced in a facility on Prince Edward Island in Canada and shipped to a "grow-out facility" in Panama, where they would be reared to market size and harvested for processing.

AquAdvantage salmon eggs are engineered to produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. If it gets a final go-ahead, it would be the first food from a transgenic animal, one whose genome has been altered, to be approved by the FDA.

Some have threatened to sue if the fish is approved. It would be the first genetically engineered animal commercialized in the food supply.   Continued...