Strain-specific vaccines now available internationally and in all US states

Richmond, Maine — Kennebec River Biosciences’ announced today that it is now fully approved by the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics to produce autogenous vaccines for fish. This approval greatly expands KRB’s ability to design and provide custom, strain-specific health solutions both to the aquaculture sector and to resource agencies worldwide.

fish vaccine

Dr. Kerry Collins, one of KRB’s veterinarians, with a bottle of immersion fish vaccine

Unlike others, KRB CustomTM vaccines target the specific strains of bacteria and/or virus found at the client’s farm or facility. KRB’s veterinarians have made fish vaccines in this way for years, for clients in states where they were licensed. Now, KRB CustomTM autogenous fish vaccines are available in all U.S. states, as well as internationally.

Susan Marcquenski, a Fish Health Specialist from Wisconsin, praises KRB for their “consistent, extremely effective autogenous vaccines.” A key advantage of KRB CustomTM vaccines is their connection to KRB’s experienced, high-throughput laboratory. The largest commercial fish health lab in the Americas, KRB has performed diagnostics and inspections for over 20 years, and offers more USDA-APHIS approved assays for export testing than any other lab.

“Accurate detection and diagnosis is a core competency for us,” says Dr. Cem Giray, COO and Laboratory Manager. “By sampling on a regular basis and by producing our vaccines from recent, farm-specific isolates, we provide our clients with a precisely targeted solution.”

To produce their vaccines, scientists at Kennebec River Biosciences use the pathogens most recently isolated from fish at individual farms or hatcheries. After identification, characterization and subsequent growth under optimized culture conditions, candidate organisms are inactivated and included in a vaccine. Each vaccine serial is rigorously tested to ensure its quality as well as its safety in fish.

KRB clients praise the company’s proactive, full-service approach to fish health. According to George Nardi, founder of Great Bay Aquaculture, KRB provides “solutions for health needs that are tailored to my business.”

Greg Lambert of Cooke Aquaculture USA, a longtime client, says “the personal relationships are excellent as is the regulatory assistance in determining what testing is required for a given situation. The vaccine production incorporated recently is an added bonus. Additionally, KRB is very flexible in working around our schedule which is always appreciated.”

KRB can produce either immersion or injectable custom vaccines. Immersion vaccines are administered to fish through the gills and the gut by exposing fish to specific dilutions of the vaccine in hatchery water for a specific period of time. According to Dr. Peter Merrill, a KRB veterinarian and Director of Regulatory Affairs, “the use of immersion vaccines in fish as small as 5 grams can be an important factor in an integrated fish health management program.”

Injectable vaccines are typically administered through intraperitoneal injection in larger fish, and often as a booster following an earlier immersion. KRB’s injection vaccines also include a proven adjuvant, to help enhance and prolong immunity in fish.

Depending on the number of candidate pathogens, KRB can produce cost-effective immersion or injectable bacterins (bacterial vaccines) in as little as a week after isolation.

Effective vaccines can not only reduce disease in vaccinated fish, but also reduce or eliminate costly antibiotic treatments. And because many pathogens are capable of changes in their antigenicity, autogenous vaccines (generally developed from more recent isolations) can potentially provide a critical advantage as fish encounter live pathogens and need to mount an immune response.

“Pathogens evolve,” says President and CEO Bill Keleher. “Our goal is to help clients evolve faster, to reduce mortality rates and improve profitability.”

For more information or to discuss a KRB CustomTM vaccine solution for your farm or facility, visit or call +1 (207) 737-2637 x208.