Photonz - producing high purity EPA from algal fermentation

Photonz signs with Novasep

Posted on Sep. 21 2011

Biotech company Photonz Corporation has entered into a development agreement with Novasep, a world-class provider of purification technology. The agreement puts the company on track to manufacture the high-value omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), as an industrial-scale end-product next year.

Novasep was chosen because its production facilities can deliver pharmaceutical quality and its purification technology will deliver EPA, at more than 96 percent purity, a key driver to accelerating Photonz's market launch. These world class purification capabilities, Novasep's pharmaceutical quality management standards and ability to meet Photonz's go-to-market time-table were all factors in the selection process.

In April this year Photonz signed an agreement with the French company, Separex, under which Separex is developing an industrial process to concentrate extracts from Photonz's EPA-rich microalgal biomass.

"With Separex we focus on economic concentration of the omega-3 extract. We're now working with Novasep to develop the final process to purify the concentrate produced with Separex technology," says Photonz Chief Executive, Greg Moss-Smith.

Novasep's contract GMP facilities in France are capable of meeting Photonz's initial manufacturing plans.

"Our new alignment with Novasep means we're on track to manufacture an industrial scale end-product next year that addresses a massive opportunity in the US$60 billion cardiovascular disease market," added Greg.

Despite a tough financial climate Photonz has continued to attract investment, thanks to its clear targets and consistent progress towards them.

"Algal fermentation is attracting international investment as a broad platform for producing biofuels and side-products, but Photonz is very focused on one target. Our technology is developed specifically to achieve high purity EPA at a competitive cost," said Greg. "Our aim is to become the world's premier source of sustainable, high-quality, high-purity EPA".

To finance its rapid growth Photonz recently secured NZ$5.4 million in capital from investors including the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, K1W1, Cure Kids Ventures and ICE Angels. Its Board has authorised raising an additional $2 million to continue its drive towards manufacturing pharmaceutical quality EPA.

Last year Photonz proved the feasibility of its continuous fermentation system and harvested its first batch of algal biomass from its prototype industrial plant. The company is now producing tonnes of algal material per year from this plant for development purposes.

"For decades fish have been the middle men in EPA production," says Greg. "Photonz is cutting them out of the supply chain and thereby reducing the risk for customers. We're on track to produce high purity EPA to market to a very demanding pharmaceutical industry, sustainable EPA that's not reliant on the fishing industry."

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 that 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

For media inquiries please contact:
Allan Botica, Botica Butler Raudon, +64 21 400 500 or
Richard Justice, Photonz, +64 21 223 4741 or


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