History and background
The idea to treat salmon against salmon lice infections with particulate quicklime (CaO) was initially conceived by two researchers at the Institute of Marine Research, who since 2008 was investigating particulate CaO used to kill sea urchins. They observed that fish were swimming through the CaO clouds seemingly unaffected.
This observation brought forward the idea that CaO may be sensitive to sea urchins and other creatures with a hydrophobic surface, and not to, e.g. fish with a hydrophilic surface. The method was then tested in small fish tanks, net pens and clinical trials. The results from these trials demonstrated that the method was effective against salmon lice.
In 2012 the company was founded and later same year Franzefoss Minerals (FMI), the largest producer of lime and limestone products in Norway, became a shareholder. The following year Norsk Innovasjonskapital II AS became Seacalx largest shareholder.
About the products
Seacalx' supplier, FMI, is Norway's largest lime producer. They produce varieties of pure calcium-containing products and have a high level of expertise in lime products for calcification of watercourses, products for hatchery plants and products for both sea urchin and salmon lice control. Also, large quantities of products are sold to agriculture and different types of industry.
For Seacalx, FMI has produced various grades of calcium oxide, and their factory currently produces according to the GMP-standard with manufacturing license (TVT) from the Norwegian Medicines Agency (SLV) for production of an Investigational Veterinary Medicinal Product (IVMP). Besides the drug, they produce the biocide Procalx. Seacalx has applied for a biocidal product authorization in relevant markets, and the competent authorities are currently assessing the application.
Products supplied by Seacalx will end up in the environment as stable and non-reactive compounds - mainly calcium carbonate, in addition to other compounds that do not harm the environment, such as gypsum. Due to this environmentally friendly profile, the products are listed on PLONOR (OSPAR Commission: Pose Little Or No Risk to the Marine Environment).
Seacalx employs 7 highly competent people who work with product development in full time. In addition, a full-time researcher works exclusively for Seacalx at the Sea Lice Research Center (SLRC). The team is interdisciplinary with particular expertise in pharmacy, veterinary medicine, biology, and chemistry.
The company's primary challenge the past years has been product development, where one seeks to recreate the good effect data from the laboratory in field conditions. Our research and development activities have been carried out in collaboration with the most recognized research communities and small and large players in the aquaculture industry. As our products appear today, the primary challenge is to demonstrate a consistent high efficacy in field studies. This challenge has resulted in development projects, mainly on the processing and distribution of the products. Both safety and efficacy studies are resources demanding, as they require proper planning, application processes and approval by relevant authorities.
It is therefore difficult to estimate the market introduction of our products. Furthermore, we experience strong support from relevant authorities and potential customers. The competitive advantages of the products are:
• No handling of the biomass
• No need to starve before treatment
• No withdrawal time
• Environmentally friendly products
Seacalx will continue the effort to develop and provide sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to the aquaculture industry around the world.