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Novartis Animal Health, Inc. celebrates a decade in aquaculture; announces two-year, US$ 2.8 million expansion program at Prince Edward Island aquaculture R&D site

Novartis Animal Health, Inc. announced an investment to significantly expand its Novartis Centre for Aqua Research & Development on Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. Construction has already begun on the US$ 2.8 million expansion, which will add state-of-the-art new laboratory and office space to support the continued rapid growth of the aquaculture R&D programs at the facility

August 18, 2011

Basel — Novartis Animal Health, Inc. (NAH) announced an investment to significantly expand its Novartis Centre for Aqua Research & Development on Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. Construction has already begun on the US$ 2.8 million expansion, which will add state-of-the-art new laboratory and office space to support the continued rapid growth of the aquaculture R&D programs at the facility. This comes on top of recent multimillion dollar investments in the R&D center by NAH.

The expansion demonstrates the continued NAH commitment to ongoing aqua health R&D and specifically to the PEI facilities. “In just the last five years, Novartis Animal Health has invested well over USD 13 million in our presence on Prince Edward Island,” said George Gunn, BVMS, MRCVS and Division Head of Novartis Animal Health and Head, Novartis Corporate Responsibility. “We dedicated a new marine R&D center at the Victoria site in 2006, built an entirely new manufacturing facility in the West Royalty Business Park in Charlottetown that opened in 2007, and are currently in the process of developing a distribution center in a building that was recently purchased near that plant.”

The PEI facility is the global center for NAH innovation for vaccines to prevent viral and bacterial diseases in farmed fish. NAH was the first company to develop and license vaccines for infectious salmon anemia virus and infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, which are deadly to salmon and financially damaging to fish farmers. Today, NAH offers a broad range of salmonid vaccines as well as products to control sea lice. The expansion now underway will enhance its potential to maintain its advantage in innovation.

The PEI site is one of six worldwide NAH Research & Development centers for animal health. The company’s other R&D centers focus on medicines for pets and livestock, and are located in Australia, Switzerland and the US.

The R&D expansion will add an additional 7,200 square feet of highly efficient laboratories, as well as approximately 6,000 square feet of modern and interactive meeting space for scientists, and will be completed in two phases during the remainder of 2011 and into 2012. In addition, 5,500 square feet of new space adjacent to the existing aquarium in the building will allow future expansion of the existing marine center.

Approximately 30 scientists work in the R&D programs at the Victoria site. The recent hiring of 14 new R&D associates has added to the organization’s capacity for developing innovative new technology platforms and has increased the potential for Novartis to improve their speed to market with new products.

Further demonstrating the commitment of Novartis Animal Health to deliver innovative solutions to customers is our decision to dedicate resources to support the recently established Sea Lice Research Centre (SLRC) in Bergen, Norway. Novartis Animal Health is working together with industry partners including Marine Harvest, Lerøy Seafood Group, EWOS Innovation and Patogen Analyse AS in the ongoing battle against this devastating parasite. The establishment of the SLRC marks the beginning of a new era where, for the very first time, true critical mass is being brought to fight this enormous challenge facing the industry.

“By continuing to invest in our R&D facilities and programs, Novartis Animal Health is well-positioned for discovering new health solutions for salmon producers and bringing those solutions to market expeditiously,” Gunn concludes. “This is an ongoing commitment that we feel will help us maintain a leadership position and support the growth of the salmon industry worldwide.”

 Novartis Animal Health, Inc.  is celebrating 10 years  in the aqua industry at the AquaNor congress in Trondheim, Norway. Speaking at the event, Chief Operating Officer Folkert Kamphuis  said NAH has brought new vaccine technology to the industry over the past decade, as well as much needed vaccine solutions. Its multi-million dollar investments during that period illustrate the long-term view of NAH to the continued development and growth of the aquaculture industry.

“The acquisition by NAH in December 1999 of Vericore Holdings led to our stake in Cobequid Life Science, Inc. and ultimately to the formation of the Novartis Aqua business in January 2001,” Kamphuis said. “We have invested much more since then based on our belief that the aquaculture industry has a very bright future and will play an increasingly important role in meeting society’s growing need for quality, farm-raised fish products.”

During its decade in aquaculture, NAH Research & Development efforts have delivered important industry breakthroughs, which include:
• The first marketing authorization for an Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) vaccine in North America
• The first commercialized vaccine to prevent Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) in Chile
• The first licensed nucleic acid vaccine (NAV) for use in fish, with the APEX-IHN vaccine being the first effective vaccine to prevent Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN)

“In addition to these innovative firsts, Novartis Animal Health has invested in meeting industry needs in other ways,” Kamphuis said. “We recognize that working together with industry partners, both in academia and among our customers, is critical to driving successful aquaculture research and bringing new solutions to the market.”

Two recent examples of these investments promise to keep NAH on the forefront of innovation in the aquaculture industry. One is the 2009 sponsorship by NAH of the Novartis Chair of Fish Health at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). The other is the commitment by NAH to support the recently established Sea Lice Research Centre (SLRC) in Bergen, Norway.

Both of these opportunities, as well as others like them, will benefit both NAH and the aquaculture industry in the long run.

“Novartis Animal Health believes that we can be a strong and valuable industry partner in addressing the challenges facing the industry, Kamphuis concluded. ―We look forward to more opportunities to support advancements and innovative solutions to management challenges.

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