Biomarine think tank - 5th Congress of the International Society for

BioMarine Think Tank
towards Cascais:
Commercialising a new
frontier of marine
phycopolymers for health and
medical applications.
Commercialising a new frontier of marine
phycopolymers for health and medical applications.
Moderator: Pierre Erwes – BioMarine Business Convention
Date: Tuesday June 24, 13.30 – 15.00 Room 6B, Australian Technology Park, Sydney
Pia Winberg
Helen Fitton
Gordon Wallace
University of Wollongong
Marinova Pty. Ltd.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Yannick Lerat
Dagmar Stengel
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
University of Galway
[email protected]
Dr. Gilles Bedoux
[email protected]
Stefan Kraan
Joao Navalho
Universite de Bretagne
Ocean Harvest
Intelligent Polymer Research
Institute and ARC Centre of
Excellence for Electromaterials
Science - University of Wollongong
[email protected]
[email protected]
Marine phycopolymers represents the numerous compounds that can be extracted from algae;
specifically of interest and emerging value to the field of glycobiology are the hydrogels, phyco- or
hydrocolloids, gels, sulphated or muco-polysaccharides. These compounds from a few species of
seaweeds have been extracted at an industrial scale since the 1940’s and used in the food and
technology industry for the gelling and emulsifying properties, but also in materials for the fluidity of
liquids (e.g. paints, ink, fire retardants). However the field is increasing in sophistication at the same
time that glycobiology (polysaccharide biology) is appreciating the importance of such compounds in
health and medical applications both as biocompatible materials but also cell communication to
inhibit or promote microorganisms and cell to cell communication for vital biological processes. Thus
the opportunity for colloids have long been an industrial commodity, however they are now
converging with the field of glycobiology and the potential for high end bioactive ingredients and
biocompatible materials of great importance and potential benefit to society.
Currently there are limitations to the progress of seaweed phycopolymers in health and medical
applications as they are a natural compound, have a track record of high variability (lack of
consistency), are not reliable in scale and consistency of supply, and are limited in the number of
human intervention studies, despite extensive benefits shown in animal nutrition and health
research. So where are the barriers in the vertical chain of production to market for this new
frontier in health and medicine from the marine environment?
This would be a round table workshop with a number of stakeholders from multiple sectors to bring
together a meta-analysis of the opportunity, pathways and barriers to commercialisation of marine
phycopolymers in medicine and health. It would include representatives from:
Applied Phycology – a background in the knowledge of seaweeds, production (cultivation or
harvest) and some polysaccharide knowledge
Chemistry – a background in the extraction processes and molecular structures of sulphated
polysaccharides and molecular crowds (glycolipids, glycosaminoglycans etc.).
Polymer materials – a background in the rheology and viscosity properties of polymers and
the needs of this industry (bionics, medical devices, surface coatings, antimicrobial
properties, 3D printing)
Medical Research – a background in the application and interaction of phycopolymers with
microorganisms, cells and metabolic processes
Commercialisation – a background in the strategic development of R&D in the medical field
including experience of clinical trials, regulations and legislation in different jurisdictions
Investment – VC, Bank or other financing with an interest in the field of BioTech, particularly
Marine Biotech.
The objective would be to establish the key aspects from each field of knowledge in the chain of
production to product and establish the barriers to realising this new frontier (e.g. multisectoral and
multidisciplinary networks, production and biomass, processing standards and capacity, quality
control (at what stage), evidence of efficacy (clinical trials), awareness by the medical sector,
consistency of product, priority areas of application in health and medicine, regulations, investment
(R&D and industry), public awareness.). A report and a publication in JAPH will be an outcome of this