Photonz receives $2.9 million R+D Grant
Posted on Mar. 28, 2011
Awarded under the TechNZ programme, the grant will enable the biotech company to undertake work that will, when completed, allow it to commence commercial production of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from marine micro-algae.
Currently EPA for pharmaceuticals can only be sourced from fish oil. Photonz has developed a unique process to produce high-quality, high-value EPA from marine microalgae as a critical ingredient in novel therapeutics for the US$60 billion cardiovascular disease market. Photonz's EPA, which is sustainably produced, will mean that pharmaceutical manufacturers will not have to rely on limited stocks of natural fisheries as their only source of EPA.
The company currently operates a prototype industrial fermentation plant and in April 2010 harvested the first batch of algal biomass. The grant will enable Photonz to complete its process development programme, proving the full manufacturing process at prototype industrial scale. It will also fund the development of a technology transfer package that will enable the process to be implemented at full industrial scale by a contract manufacturer. The company is currently in discussions with potential manufacturing partners.
"This injection of capital will enable Photonz to maintain its pace of development, accelerating our commercialisation plans," said Chief Executive, Greg Moss-Smith. "It's a vote of confidence in our strategy and our ability to execute."
This is the third grant Photonz has received from FRST. Since its formation in April 2002 Photonz has issued 9,594,885 shares and has raised in excess of $6.2 million in capital to fund the company's progress.
Founded in New Zealand in 2002, Photonz Corporation produces the high-quality, high-value omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a critical ingredient in novel therapeutics for the cardiovascular disease market. Photonz has developed a unique fermentation process which allows it to produce EPA directly from marine microalgae, making it a reliable and sustainable ingredient for the pharmaceutical industry. Photonz currently has a pilot industrial scale plant producing samples and aims to begin manufacturing at industrial scale in 2012. For more information please visit www.photonzcorp.com