SyAqua Opens Shrimp Lab in California; Genetic Nucleus Programs in Hawaii and Mexico Established

SyAqua has officially opened its shrimp research facilities in Berkeley, California as the next step in its shrimp genetic improvement program
January 21, 2003

Sygen International plc, a world leader in applying quantitative genetics and biotechnology to animal breeding, announced today that SyAqua, a Sygen company, has officially opened its shrimp laboratory in Berkeley, California.

The five thousand square feet research facility has taken receipt of over three hundred live shrimp, which will accelerate the company's shrimp genetic improvement program. The main focus in this laboratory is reproductive technology to enhance performance and create genetic protection.

SyAqua has also finalized plans for Genetic Nucleus facilities in Hawaii and Mexico. The Hawaii nucleus, as reported by last week, utilizes the services of Oceanic Institute under a three year contract. The Mexico nucleus is located near Mazatlan at the same site as an existing hatchery. Both will start operations immediately and are environmentally enclosed facilities.

The initial traits that are being evaluated are growth rate, survival and disease resistance, as well as meat quality. The Oceanic Institute is, along with Sygen's subsidiary PIC USA, one of the research partners within the consortium that received the US$8.2 million shrimp research grant from the US Department of Commerce's ATP program late last year.

Phillip David, Chief Executive of Sygen International, commented, "The establishment of SyAqua's research lab, along with the developments related to our shrimp genetic nucleus facility, will enable us to have complete control over the research, technology, genetic improvement and intellectual property that we develop. This development, coupled with our recent acquisition of Super Shrimp, represents a further major step towards SyAqua gaining both technical and market leadership in shrimp breeding."

In October 2002, Sygen announced that it had acquired the assets of Mexico's largest shrimp breeding stock business, Super Shrimp, for US$4.5 million in cash. The acquisition underlined the Group's strategy of leveraging its core genetic improvement business into other species.

Super Shrimp has two hatcheries in Mexico with gross turnover of over US$6.0 million in the last financial year. The acquisition accelerates the growth and development of Sygen's aquaculture business, SyAqua, by delivering ownership and control of the shrimp breeding process and related intellectual properties in a key territory. SyAqua was formed by Sygen during the 2002 financial year when the Group announced its plans to enter the US$6-$7 billion worldwide shrimp market as a supplier of shrimp breeding stock.

Sygen International plc is a world leader in applying quantitative genetics and biotechnology to animal breeding. Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Sygen companies operate in 30 countries on five continents, with laboratories located in Berkeley, California, and Cambridge, UK. For more information, visit

SyAqua, a Sygen company, through which the commercial breeding stock business in aquaculture will be conducted, was established 2002. At the same time, Sygen commenced research on applying quantitative genetics and biotechnology to shrimp production. Sygen's subsidiary company, PIC USA, and three other partners, received a research grant of US$8.2 million from the U.S. Government in November 2001 to fund this research.

The global market of farmed shrimp production is estimated at US$6-$7 billion. The objective of the programme, entitled "Biosecure Zero-Exchange Shrimp Technology (BioZEST): A Paradigm Shift for the U.S. Industry", is to develop an economically viable, environmentally responsible and sustainable production system for shrimp. The partners bring together expertise in the areas of genetics, healthy production systems and nutrition.

PIC, a Sygen company, is the international leader in providing genetically superior pig breeding stock and technical support for maximising genetic potential to commercial pork producers. Operating for over 40 years, PIC's success is attributed to its thorough concentration on, and significant investment in, all aspects of genetics, technology and health.