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The first microalgae platform for the production of anticancer biopharmaceuticals

Project description

Microalgae powerhouses do it better when it comes to production of anticancer therapeutics

Demand for recombinant pharmaceutical proteins is growing globally and the use of microorganisms as small bioreactors for rapid and cost-effective production is an important area of research. Microalgae, like mammalian cell lines, enable post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications, high production quality and high protein yield. However, unlike mammalian cell culture, they offer fast large-scale production, low overall cost, low risk of contamination, and easy reproduction and distribution. MABIOS has developed a microalgae platform for producing anticancer biopharmaceuticals that could lower the cost of treatment for millions of patients worldwide. EU-funding is providing the opportunity to develop the best business plan, meet regulatory requirements, and bring the platform to market.


Manufacturing costs remain one of the major obstacles to providing effective treatment of cancer patients. Anticancer agents are often complex biopharmaceuticals that are expensive to manufacture, requiring use of living cell lines with difficult-to-control production processes, limited yields and time-consuming purification steps. There is an urgent unmet need for an improved manufacturing process of biopharmaceuticals, to meet the high demand and lower the price of oncologic treatments. We will revolutionize the way biopharmaceuticals are produced by developing a microalgae based biorefinery platform. These biorefineries will utilize genetically engineered microalgae to efficiently produce pharmaceutical agents. Microalgae are photosynthetic micro-organisms that have unique advantages as biopharmaceutical production systems, including high growth rate, ease of cultivation and low growth costs, enabling cost effective and scalable yield of active ingredients. These will be recombinant proteins, small molecules or therapeutic peptides, starting with Paclitaxel as showcase, one of the world’s best sold anticancer drugs used as the first line treatment of a several solid tumours. Our platform has the potential to become the new manufacturing method of choice for production of highly needed biopharmaceuticals. Microalgae Works is an ambitious Dutch start-up with the mission to make anticancer treatment affordable for every patient through a drastic reduction of manufacturing costs. We are supported by leading companies in the field of biomanufacturing. The MABIOS project will (1) create a clear overview of the market opportunity for micro-algae based production of paclitaxel, (2) develop a de-risked plan for the technical development of our platform, (3) evaluate the necessary regulatory roadmap to enter the market, and (4) formulate an investor-proof business plan. We aim to become the frontrunner in biopharmaceutical production utilizing microalgae.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
Bargelaan 200
2333 CW Leiden

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Agglomeratie Leiden en Bollenstreek
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 21 429,00