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February 21, 2018

Kennebec River Biosciences expands to Brunswick Landing

Courtesy / Kennebec River Biosciences
Courtesy / Kennebec River Biosciences
Brenda Perry, Vicky Bowie and Sarah Joyce, work in the lab at Kennebec River Biosciences in Richmond. The company announced Tuesday it will expand and move to Brunswick Landing.

Richmond-based Kennebec River Biosciences will move its core laboratory and manufacturing plant to Brunswick Landing, the company announced Tuesday.

The move will create "a significant number of new positions" at the aquatic animal health company to augment its current workforce, it said in a news release. The company employs 18.

The expansion will position KRB to support the aquaculture industry both in the United States and globally and represents an initial investment of between $500,000 to $750,000, the release said.

The company also plans to maintain a presence in Richmond, where it has been on Main Street since it was founded in 1996.

"Aquatic animal health is an integral part of any successful aquaculture operation, said COO and Chief Science Officer Cem Giray. "It is also essential for proper wild fisheries management. KRB intends to play a leading role in meeting the needs of a growing aquaculture sector and helping deal with challenges faced by our fisheries."

When the company was founded, as Micro Technologies, it initially focused on providing health testing such as diagnostics and screenings for aquatic animals.

It now is an international company, with customers on six continents, that offers autogenous vaccines, regulatory consultation and contract research.

Diagnostic services and aquatic vaccines have seen major growth in recent years, CEO and President Bill Keleher said.

"Richmond has been a terrific partner for over 20 years and we intend to retain a strong presence there even as the expansion to Brunswick occurs," he said.

The company said that key to the success of the project will be collaborations with the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, the town of Brunswick and the Maine Technology Institute, which has awarded several grants to Kennebec River Biosciences over the years, most recently in December 2016.

"With these partnerships, KRB is confident that it will continue its strong history of job creation and revenue growth, allowing us to effectively compete with firms from all over the globe," Keleher said.

The company in 2016 said it is the largest commercial fish health lab in North America, offering more USDA/APHIS-approved assays for aquatic animal export certification than any other laboratory. In May of that year, it was certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to produce autogenous vaccines for fish.

Keleher told Maine Startup Insider last year the company was experiencing "double-digit" growth, partly because of growth in the aquaculture industry and also because of the vaccine licensing.

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