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Slimming MIcroaLgae Extract : Development of a new highly effective microalgae-based slimming ingredient for nutraceutical applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SMILE (Slimming MIcroaLgae Extract : Development of a new highly effective microalgae-based slimmingingredient for nutraceutical applications)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2015-08-31

The SMILE project Phase 1 aimed at developing a microalgae-based innovative natural marine ingredient based on recently discovered bioactive compounds, with scientifically demonstrated benefits on weight management and metabolism issues. Through an innovative and patented technology, Microphyt produces sustainably and markets unique bioactive compounds extracted from the untapped diversity of microalgae. SME Instrument Phase 1 first objective was the selection of the best microalgae strain(s) among 10 candidates against several criteria: industrial production and downstream processes (DSP) feasibility and cost analysis, biomass and extracts characterization, regulatory issues, Freedom to Operate analysis and potential for new IP assets. The second objective was to deliver a more detailed business plan associated with the SMILE project.
During the 6 months of Phase 1 Microphyt conducted the following activities:
- Developing additional microalgae sourcing for the SMILE project: Amongst ten microalgae strains identified as potential candidates, Microphyt aimed at validating the production of the natural mix of compounds from at least one new microalgae strain. There were laboratory and industrial culture trials and biological and chemical characterization of the new biomass and extracts samples to demonstrate the high content of biomasses in targeted compounds. As a result of those activities, Microphyt identified 2 strains whose technical and economic viability was demonstrated.
- Conducting a complete IP analysis on the project: To identify new IP opportunities and to carry out Freedom to Operate (FTO) analysis, an IP expert supported Microphyt in this evaluation. FTO analysis has limited the risk of any patent infringements regarding implemented technologies, microalgae strains used and nutritional claims targeted. The outcome of this analysis is positive for Microphyt.
- Completing a Regulatory analysis of the proposed products: For Europe, further assessment of Novel Food regulation constraints related to the targeted species were carried out for each candidate species. Specialized subcontractors and consultants supported Microphyt in the assessment of the duration and cost analysis. These conclusions constituted a key driver to select the final species used for ingredient development.
- Delivering a detailed Business Plan: In a first approach Microphyt performed a preliminary market analysis and built up a simplified business plan regarding the SMILE project. These studies showed a favourable market context. During the SME Instrument Phase 1 feasibility study Microphyt consolidated a detailed business plan related to the commercialisation of the new ingredient, including further analysis of barriers to entries and market opportunities.
Final results are described in the previous section.
As regards socio-economic impacts the SMILE project aims at developing a microalgae-based innovative natural marine ingredient with scientifically demonstrated benefits on weight management and metabolism issues. Obesity and overweight concerning 37% of the world population in 2013 (The Lancet, 2014) these issues represent major global health challenges, causing millions of deaths worldwide. Well integrated comprehensive strategies can contribute to overweight management. Specifically developed bioactive compounds used in food supplements can help people wanting to lose weight. Consumers are looking for safe, effective (scientifically proven), affordable and natural solutions to these issues that represent today an unmet need. The marine environment is full of biological compounds that represent relevant answers to these needs. With the SME Instrument Phase 1 SMILE project and thanks to its patented technologies Microphyt demonstrated its ability to produce with specific microalgae the bioactive compounds of interest in industrial quantities. Microphyt now stands on firm ground to bring in the next coming years to European consumers the benefits of its natural slimming ingredient.
Microalgae inside a Petri Dish
Microphyt's PBR