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Aquapharm works with Enterprise Europe Network to reel in new business


Since forming in 2000, biotechnology company Aquapharm BioDiscovery Ltd has netted a reputation for unlocking the potential of novel marine microbes and converting them into products for use in pharmaceuticals, foods and beverages, and cosmetics.

One of the keys to Aquapharm’s success to date is collaboration with like-minded organisations and businesses across the world to accelerate the commercialisation of its products within specific target markets.

Aquapharm engaged with Enterprise Europe Network to search out European partners capable of fast-tracking its efforts to develop and commercialise bio-catalysts from its collection. EEN’s Claire Melville profiled Aquapharm for the Network’s database, which attracted almost a dozen expressions of interest from companies across Europe.

This led to a new partnership between Aquapharm and German industrial biotechnology firm c-LEcta.

c-LEcta specialises in the identification and engineering of enzymes and strains for bio-catalytic industry processes, while Aquapharm has proven expertise in harnessing the commercial potential of its unique collection of marine bacteria and fungi.

The partners’ debut project together has already led to its first product – a searchable genomic library, which can be screened by potential customers seeking enzymes with specific characteristics.

Aquapharm and c-LEcta worked with the Enterprise Europe Network team to identify sources of public funding to support their collaboration ultimately resulting in sizeable award from the Eurostars R&D funding scheme.

Claire Melville of EEN said: “Aquapharm is really blazing a trail in the industrial biotechnology sector. Even though its products can be used across a wide range of sectors, the partners it was seeking had to fit with this very specific type of research.

“The partnership set up between c-LEcta and Aquapharm demonstrates how we can tap into a huge resource of European contacts and market information to fast-track companies towards meaningful collaborations and new markets.

“Not only can we help match company profiles to create successful partnerships, but we will support those partnerships by providing whatever else is required – advice, market intelligence or funding application support.”

Synthetic catalysts can be used to manufacture all kinds of products – from consumer goods, including food ingredients and washing powder, to agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

With companies increasingly concerned with sustainability issues, replacing energy-intensive chemical processes requiring synthetic catalysts with eco-friendly, naturally-derived alternatives has become a real focus.

Jon Williams, VP Commercial at Aquapharm, said: “Bio-catalysts have the potential to far exceed the efficiency of synthetic catalysts, leading to reductions in environmental impact and production costs.

“We have already created bio-catalysts for use in specific sectors but joining forces with c-LEcta will allow us to both engage existing markets with a wider range of products and target a number of new industries.

“Working with Enterprise Europe Network has radically sped up commercialisation of one of our product portfolios by helping us to connect with a dynamic collaborator and access an alternative source of public funding.”

For more information, contact Lorna Maclean lorna.maclean@scotent.co.uk