Pontus Research, the UK based independent aquaculture focussed CRO, is investing in significantly increasing capacity and widening the range of research and other support services offered to the industry. A growing interest in the company’s offering of privately-run trials since the first project was started in mid-2015 has allowed the company to complete a £1.2 million investment in December 2019 to fund the expansion of the facilities and services offered.
The entirely new facility is currently under construction and with development slowed down but not halted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is due to open in August 2020. The multiple flexible research scale RAS element of the build is being delivered by AquaEcosystems UK.
The development will see Pontus increase the number of research-orientated RAS, specially designed for multi-faceted research, to nine in total, with tank sizes ranging from 70 liters to 1,000 liters. All systems feature around the clock monitoring and are adjustable between 9 and 32°C. All are freshwater and seawater compatible, allowing a wide range of species to be tested.
To this point, the company has focused on nutrition research mainly with trout, salmon, tilapia and shrimp, but the investment will see the addition of new health (including challenge) and feed technology (extrusion and pelleting) business units, both due to be operating before the end of 2020. The new multispecies facility, that will be created as a result of the investment, is supported by experienced staff and student base with a diverse range of experience and knowledge, with further recruitment of specialist roles due in late 2020.
In addition to the UK expansion, the investment will also initiate the company’s expansion into South East Asia with a Singapore facility currently being planned. This facility will focus on tropical marine species and will help Singapore meet its “30by30” objective while serving the wider R&D needs of the growing Southeast Asian industry.
Jack James, managing director and founder of Pontus Research, said that “this investment and expansion will allow us to place Pontus at the forefront of private aquaculture R&D service provision globally, helping our clients grow their portfolios of products quickly and sustainably.”