Marine Biotech Firm and Science Institute Partner

May 7, 2012 | Contact Author | By: Rachel Grabenhofer
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Title: Marine Biotech Firm and Science Institute Partner
  • Article

In efforts to research and develop active products from micro-organisms, Aquapharm Biotechnology, a leading marine biotechnology firm, has joined forces with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

According to Aquapharm Biotechnology, scientists at the company will be given exclusive commercial access to a selection of Australian marine microbes in the AIMS Bioresources Library. Aquapharm believes the deal will lead to the discovery of useful new active ingredients for use in pharmaceutical, nutritional and personal care products.

Jon Williams, VP Commercial at Aquapharm, explained in a press statement, "AIMS is amongst the world's top specialist research institutions, and it has cultivated a sizeable collection of marine micro-organisms from Australia’s unique marine territory." He added, "We are optimistic that this opportunity to screen an even wider variety of micro-organisms from a diverse range of habitats and organisms will complement the efforts made to-date in mining our own collection, and help us to discover some exciting new products which could ultimately find their way into anything from advanced medicines to toiletries, or functional foods and drinks."

Under the terms of this deal, Aquapharm will invest its specialist expertise to culture and screen a range of these microbes. If it finds an extract it believes can be used in commercial products, it may negotiate a royalty fee to AIMS in exchange for commercialization rights. Libby Evans-Illidge, manager of AIMS Bioresources Library, said in a press statement: “AIMS is tasked with supporting the sustainable development of Australia's marine environment and has spent over 25 years building up a collection of tens of thousands of samples representative of Australia's immense marine biodiversity at more than 1,600 sites. By facilitating access to the Bioresources Library, its vast diversity of natural molecules and attributes can be probed for those with the potential to be commercialized and generate benefits for Australia.

The company, which has bases in Edinburgh and Oban, also recently announced a partnership with the Centre for Agriculture Bioscience International (CABI). The deal allows both companies to gain access to one other's microbe collections as well as sharing their know-how on the production and cultivation of select extracts. Through the application of its proprietary technologies to this collection, the company has been able to stimulate the production of novel, biologically active products with broad chemical diversity. To accelerate its discovery efforts, Aquapharm is currently preparing one of the world’s largest marine-derived compound libraries.