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Pacific Hybreed lands $800,000 investment

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
26 January 2022, at 4:30pm

Pacific Hybreed has secured a $800,000 investment which will allow it to increase production capacity and execute the next phase of its breeding programme to enhance the resilience and supply of commercially important bivalves, including clams and oysters.

Checking the algae culture at one of Pacific Hybreed's shellfish hatcheries
Checking the algae culture at one of Pacific Hybreed's shellfish hatcheries

The funding has been secured through the sale of convertible notes to Builders Vision’s Rising Tides Fund (RTF), with participation from Pacific6 Enterprises as a follow on to its investments in prior rounds. The investment and other support from Builders Vision and Pacific6 will fund the next stage of the company’s work to preserve and enhance shellfish aquaculture, which provides important ecosystem services, a resource-efficient food source and support for coastal communities where shellfish aquaculture provides jobs and other community benefits.

Preeminent shellfish scientists Dennis Hedgecock and Joth Davis founded Pacific Hybreed to commercialise their seminal research demonstrating hybrid vigour in Pacific oysters. Hybrid bivalves can provide significant improvements in yield, survival rates and uniformity, including resilience to the changing ocean conditions and emerging diseases that are threatening bivalve aquaculture on a global scale.

Peter Bryant, a senior program officer at Builders Initiative, the impact investing and philanthropic team of Builders Vision, explained that: “We proudly stand behind Pacific Hybreed and its important pursuit of innovation to improve and enhance oyster aquaculture. These solutions align perfectly with Builders Vision’s strategy to ensure oceans are resilient and balanced, contribute to climate resilience and emissions reductions, and support food and nutritional security.”

John Molina, a founding partner of Pacific6, who have made significant investment in aquaculture initiatives, added: “From Pacific Hybreed’s earliest days, we recognised that domestication and breeding, enabled by sound, modern genetics and breeding science, are essential if we are to sustain shellfish aquaculture. As a component of our broader aquaculture strategy and focus, we are delighted to join Rising Tides and continue helping Pacific Hybreed move forward with its important work.”

Pacific Hybreed has shellfish hatcheries in NELHA, Hawaii (pictured) as well as Washington State
Pacific Hybreed has shellfish hatcheries in NELHA, Hawaii (pictured) as well as Washington State

Seizing the momentum provided from the successes Hybreed achieved in 2021, including the sale of its initial double cross, hybrid Pacific oyster seed and the development of a proprietary method for producing triploid Manila clams, this new funding allows the company to add key members to its team. These team members and their work will elevate the company’s functional capacity and help support the cross-breeding programme, research and the production of marketable seed.

Dr Francis Pan will serve as director of genetics, with responsibility for accelerating the company’s core cross-breeding program; Carrie Ferrence, will serve as the new chief operating officer; and Robin Lancaster, will serve as the chief financial officer.

Both RTF and Pacific6 will be represented on the Pacific Hybreed board, joining Dr Davis and Jon Kroman, to help guide the company’s growth and development. With Dr Pan becoming director of genetics, Dr Hedgecock has stepped down from a direct role in ​company management, but remains a valued science advisor and resource.

“Pacific Hybreed is honoured to have the support of these respected organisations as we all work to sustain and benefit from the oceans,” said Dr Davis.