Aova Technologies Inc., a startup company that produces animal feed additives based on University of Wisconsin-Madison technology and licensed through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), has completed two key goals in its efforts to capture part of the $70 billion global aquaculture market.
With a focus on promoting its Big Fish product line, the company is expanding into Asia's huge aquaculture market, which accounts for 92% of world production, via a new sales distribution agreement covering Japan.
In addition, Thailand's Ministry of Agriculture recently completed successful trials of Big Fish formulated for three of the world's most popular species of fish stock for consumption.
Aquaculture is the fastest growing form of food production in the world. It is the source for nearly half of the fish consumed globally.
“In this growing and increasingly competitive industry, commercial producers are very interested in improving fish health and size while decreasing feed costs and time to market," says Bryan Renk, president of Aova Technologies
JV with Merrick’s
demonstrated its confidence in its licensee's product lines, business plan and market opportunities by joining with Merrick's Inc., producer of animal feed for worldwide markets, as an equity co-investor in Aova.
Merrick's, founded in 1959 and based in Middleton, Wisconsin, manufactures Aova's product lines at its facility located in Union Center, Wis.
"We feel that momentum is mounting at Aova and its business is on the verge of taking off," says Craig Heim, WARF's licensing manager for startups.
Chicken egg antibodies
Big Fish, as well as Aova's other and similarly named "Big" product lines designed as feed additives for birds, calves and pigs, is a powdered nutritional supplement made from chicken egg antibodies.
When added to livestock feed, the supplement improves the intestinal health of animals raised in controlled environments by calming the intestine's immune defences.
The additive diverts a larger percentage of an animal's metabolic resources to increase and accelerate its growth, while also reducing overall caloric demands.
"For commercial fish producers, the addition of Big Fish to their feedstock will increase daily weight gain and improve feed efficacy," says Renk.
Renk points to Aova's recently completed distribution agreement with eAnimal for Japan as its initial method of entry into Asian markets.
eAnimal will market Big Fish formulations in Japan developed for tilipia, catfish and other fish species, as well as the Big Pig and Big Bird product lines.