Charlottetown’s RPS Biologiques has signed an exclusive distribution deal with pharmaceutical and life sciences specialist Agrovet Chile to distribute RPS’s treatment for sea lice on farmed salmon.

In a press release, RPS said it expects the Agrovet deal to generate at least $8 million worth of sales over the next three years, adding that Chile is the world's second-largest provider of farmed salmon.

Puralyze, RPS’s plant-based solution that can be dissolved in the water of commercial fish hatcheries and home aquariums, is safer and more ecologically sustainable than existing sea lice treatments, according to the company. A second, already widely used product from RPS, Supratect, promises more generalized improvements in fish health.

“This is a great opportunity for RPS to market our product in Chile,” said RPS Chief Executive Subrata Chowdhury in the press release. “Puralyze is a critical piece of our company’s commitment to first-of-its-kind biotech products and solutions for aquatic health.”

Disease is the single largest cause of economic losses in aquaculture, with sea lice infections alone costing the global industry about $500 million a year. And in many countries, fish farms face increasing pressure to reduce the pollution and address biosecurity issues.

Chile exports about $8 billion worth of fish annually, RPS said. That equates to nearly a third of global production, according to research by California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium. But Chilean salmon farmers have faced criticism for their liberal use of antibiotics and pesticides relative to competing nations.

“With the increased pressure to avoid environmental issues, using natural products such as Puralyze is a win-win for our salmon population and our environment,” said Agrovet Chile Director Claudio Retamal.