The UK Technology Strategy Board today announced funding of a collaboration between GlycoMar and MicroA of Norway for the pilot scale production of one of GlycoMar’s biologically active polysaccharides from a marine microalga using MicroA’s patented photobioreactor technology.
The project will use MicroA’s recently patented PBR technology as the scale-up platform for GlycoMar’s microalgal polysaccharide product development. MicroA will use their pilot scale system to optimise growth conditions for maximum algal polysaccharide production. GlycoMar will optimise downstream processing to maximise recovery of the target product. The project will establish the commercial viability of full-scale production. Success of the project will be an important milestone for both partner companies and the wider biotechnology and microalgae industries, and will lead to commercialisation as a high value natural skin care ingredient within 3 years.
Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG) announced today that it has acquired the assets of the VeroMara seafood testing laboratory from its parent company, GlycoMar Ltd. Based in Oban, Scotland, VeroMara offers testing services to the shellfish and salmon aquaculture industries. VeroMara’s services include testing for shellfish toxins, general foodborne pathogens, including E. coli, noroviruses, and salmon husbandry.
VeroMara recorded revenues of approximately $800,000 (U.S.) in its most recently completed fiscal year. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. “The acquisition of VeroMara deepens Neogen’s advancement into the aquatic sciences,” said James Herbert, Neogen’s CEO and chairman. “VeroMara’s services are complementary and a nice fit with our existing product lines for the seafood industry, including one of our biggest food safety diagnostic products — our histamine tests for the tuna industry.
The VeroMara purchase also provides Neogen with key collaborative relationships with influential aquaculture partners, and increased access to important international markets. “Our new operation in Oban will work in close cooperation with our Neogen Europe headquarters in Ayr, Scotland, providing expanded products and services to a larger customer base,” Herbert continued. “Our sales and marketing operations in Ayr have the capability to expand VeroMara’s business to several other European countries.”
“The sale of our VeroMara testing service allows GlycoMar to focus on our core business — marine natural product research and development,” said Dr. Charles Bavington, GlycoMar’s managing director. “We are pleased to have VeroMara join Neogen, a company we respect as being one of the world leaders in food safety. This transition will guarantee uninterrupted quality service to our customers.”
Scanbio, a Norwegian fish by-products group and GlycoMar, a Scottish marine biotechnology company, are pleased to announce the signing of a collaboration and licence agreement to commercialise a nutritional supplement product worth up to £4m a year in gross sales . Scanbio Scotland, based in Corpach, Fort William have led the negotiation of the deal with Oban based bio-research specialists GlycoMar. The deal follows four years of research at GlycoMar’s labs and small-scale trials at Scanbio’s factories in Norway to produce an anti-inflammatory joint therapy product.
GlycoMar Limited, based at the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology, is a specialist biotechnology company developing anti-inflammatory products with applications in nutrition, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. GlycoMar’s founder, Dr Charlie Bavington, said “we are very excited about this agreement, which is our first out-licensing deal in the nutritional sector. This is the outcome of several years research in utilisation of fisheries by-products. We are particularly delighted to be collaborating with Scanbio, who we believe are the best partner to commercialise this technology.”
VeroMara has been contracted by BioPol in Iceland to provide them with training, documentation, and support services for the implementation of shellfish toxin rapid testing. This will be the first time shellfish toxin testing has been conducted in Iceland, and will provide the basis for future monitoring and end product testing of shellfish produced in Icelandic waters.
BioPol is a marine biotechnology research station established on 1 September 2007. The implementation of shellfish toxin rapid tests is part of the EU FP7 MPP project.
VeroMara will provide training in all aspects of shellfish toxin testing using ELISA tests and Jellett rapid tests. VeroMara will also be providing supporting documentation and ongoing technical back up. VeroMara is a distributor in the UK & Eire for Biosense Laboratories and for Jellett Rapid testing. VeroMara also offers UKAS accredited testing services to the shellfish industry. VeroMara’s Manager commented, “we are delighted to be working with BioPol, which is our first contract outside the UK.
A recent piece from BBC News highlights the exciting work from Scottish firm Glycomar and the Scottish Association for Marine Science.
Lurking in the seas of Scotland is an unlikely candidate for a medical breakthrough. But scientists believe the starfish could hold the key to finding a new treatment for inflammatory conditions such as asthma, hay fever and arthritis.
The species they are interested in is the spiny starfish (Marthasterias glacialis), and in particular the slimy goo that covers its body. The team says that chemicals in this coating could inspire new medicines. While most man-made structures that are placed in the water rapidly get caked with a mixture of marine life, starfish manage to keep their surface clear.
Dr Charlie Bavington, from GlycoMar, a marine biotechnology company based at the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban, explained: “Starfish live in the sea, and are bathed in a solution of bacteria, larvae, viruses and all sorts of things that are looking for somewhere to live.
“But starfish are better than Teflon: they have a very efficient anti-fouling surface that prevents things from sticking.”
And it is this non-stick property that has grabbed medical scientists’ attention, particularly in the field of inflammation.
Preliminary findings from a UK government funded project focused on extracting value from seafood and beverage processing waste shows the process could potentially recover nutritional components such as glucosamine.
The process involves an ionic liquid (IL) extraction process which selectively recovers targeted high value components under mild conditions. Ionic Liquids are clean, inexpensive solvents whose properties can be tailored for recovery of specific target molecules. Recycling of recovered components for applications in pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and chemical markets will deliver both economic and environmental benefits to technology adopters.
C-Tech Innovation, a UK based technology development company, is leading the three year EXCIL project that involves collaboration with key stakeholders including Heineken UK, seafood processor West Coast Sea Products, GlycoMar Ltd., the Sea Fish Industry Authority, waste management firm SITA UK and Imperial College London.
The research is being by funded by a UK government agency, the Technology Strategy Board, with the stated objective being to provide a new approach to solving the environmental and financial costs involved in disposal of food and brewing waste through a sustainable and resource efficient method.
EXCIL is a 3 year project which started in October 2009.
Marine biotechnology company GlycoMar Ltd has been awarded a £70,000 grant from the Scottish Government’s SMART: SCOTLAND programme to develop new products for growing human stem cells. The process involves the Oban-based company using blood withdrawn from marine invertebrates, including worms and starfish. The products prepared from this blood will then be tested in stem cell culture systems supplied by Roslin Cells in Edinburgh. The SMART: SCOTLAND grant enables GlycoMar to take its technology into the stem cell market for the first time. GlycoMar exploits natural products in marine invertebrates to advance human health. Dr Bavington believes that marine invertebrates are a suitable source to find novel stem cell media supplements. “This is because of their remarkable capacity for continual growth and regeneration throughout their life course, often from their own stem cell reservoirs,” he said. “Starfish, for example can re-grow their limbs.” The use of non-mammalian marine material also means there is a very low risk of cross contamination with pathogens such as BSE. This research and the collaboration between GlycoMar and Roslin Cells highlights the excellence of the research work being undertaken by stem cell community in Scotland and typifies the efforts of the SSCN to bring the relevant experts together in this exciting and constantly developing field.
Oban-based GlycoMar and Glasgow-based Scottish Biomedical have signed agreements with Chinese pharmaceutical giant Asiapharm to test and potentially license two of their lead products. The GlycoMar products have potential for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, while the Scottish Biomedical drugs could treat debilitating psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Scotland’s life sciences industry is one of the most vibrant in Europe – with about 600 organizations employing over 30,000 people. Under the terms of the deal, Asiapharm will carry out trials and further development of the two products. If successful, Asiapharm will license these products for the Chinese market.
Scottish marine biotechnology company GlycoMar Ltd has recently secured further investment of £260,000 from its investors, as the first stage of a targeted £2.5 M funding round. This will allow the Company to expand and accelerate its drug discovery operations, taking potential marine anti-inflammatory drugs into clinical development.
GlycoMar, which means ‘sweet sea’, is dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialisation of new anti-inflammatory drug candidates based on the glycobiology of marine organisms. The Company makes its products from a wide variety of invertebrate animals, including starfish, shellfish, sponges, and sea squirts, and it has recently started working with seaweed and bacterial products.
Since 2005, GlycoMar’s rapid growth business strategy has seen the company secure major contracts with drug development companies to supply polysaccharide and glycoprotein products as well as in vitro screening services. GlycoMar is in discussions with institutional investors to secure an additional £2.25 M to take its active compounds in to clinical trials.
OBAN life science company GlycoMar Ltd has recently announced an additional service has been introduced at its in house screening facility. GlycoMar Managing Director Dr Charlie Bavington set up the Company in 2005, to exploit the potential of sugar-based compounds derived from marine invertebrates. GlycoMar has continued to expand its commercial success since 2005, when it made the headlines by extracting chemicals from starfish slime to combat allergies such as hay fever.
Dr Bavington said ”The addition of further screening assays is part of our on going strategy to develop the screening facility. This will allow us to increase income and provide vital capabilities for our own drug discovery program. The introduction of anti-oxidant assays compliments our already established anti-inflammatory screens.”
GlycoMar’s newly introduced assay is used to screen compounds for their ability to inhibit ROS/RNS production, so acting as an antioxidant and blocking downstream inflammatory events. The assay is a fully quantitative assay offering low – medium throughput. GlycoMar is also developing an in house mixed lymphocyte assay which will be commercially available early 2008.