Marinova claims to be the only company to have developed a coldwater, ethanol-free process to extract fucoidans, which unlike ethanol based extraction does not degrade the product. The Australian firm developed the method, called Maritch, along with New Zealand Pharmaceuticals to use the extract in a range of nutraceutical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications. Fucoidans are naturally occurring components of certain edible seaweeds and echinoderms and can be classified as sulphated polysaccharides. They are large sugar polymers made up primarily of the sugar fucose. The biotechnology firm says it became interested in the polysaccharide because of their ability to act as viral attachment inhibitors, enzyme inhibitors and receptor blockers. In addition to immune support, it the company envisages that fucoidans could be used in supplements aimed at preventing or alleviating the symptoms of other health indications, including metabolic syndrome, deep vein thrombosis, irritable bowel syndrome and osteoarthrisis. The advantage of the Maritech process is the ability to control the chemical properties of fucoidan, and ensure the extracted molecules retain their natural bioactivity. The molecular weight can be carefully controlled, resulting in fucoidan extracts with specific suitability for different functional and health applications, the company said. Business development director Nick Falk said: "The new trademark reflects the time, resources and expertise that have gone into the development of the Maritech process. "While ethanol extraction degrades fucoidan, the Maritech process ensures the resultant extracts are nature equivalent and suitable for all avenues of research and product development. "Our extraction expertise allows us to select specific fucoidans for our R&D program, and work with clients across the human health spectrum." Based in Hobart, Tasmania, the Maritech specialises in the medical applications of marine plants before broadening its scope recently into supplying nutraceutical ingredients.