French firm looking to licence and partner in commercialisation of ‘first ever’ algal oil combining DHA and selenium.
“It is an important milestone for the company, as Olïse complements our existing nutritional solutions and opens up new opportunities in a highly promising market for omega-3 fats,” said Metabolium CEO and chairman Dominique Duvauchelle.
The company is targeting Olïse at both the human and animal nutrition markets. It is suitable in any product or ingredient where DHA rich oil is currently used such as infant formula, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, pet food and aquaculture.
The patented production process involves fermentation of DHA-producing micro-algae, known as protists, in the presence of organic sources of selenium.
“Every vertebrate needs some selenium and some DHA,” explains Duvauchelle. “We found a way to put them together and it can be available for all the applications,” he added.
DHA’s benefits for brain health and development, cardiovascular well-being and eyesight are widely recognised. Inclusion of selenium is intended to promote immune function and minimise the effect of environmental endocrine disruptors.
The road to market
Metabolium is currently in the industrial scale-up stage for Olïse. Duvauchelle envisages that the product will available by the end of 2018. Metabolium does not expect to invest in new production capacity as plenty of existing micro-algae fermentors can be utilised. As with any new invention, Duvauchelle emphasised that time-to –market is critical. Metabolium plan to address this by developing licensing agreements to manufacture and market the product.
“The goal is to go as quick as possible to the market,” commented Duvauchelle, adding, “If we find a way to work with people who already have the market and that can produce, that’s the best.”
Speaking about the development of the product, Duvauchelle was keen to highlight not only the unique combination of ingredients, but also their source.
High levels of demand, particularly from the aquaculture sector has necessitated the development of sustainable algal-sourced material; hence Metabolium’s decision to source DHA from protist fermentation.
“In Europe, we still have some DHA from fish oil, which is not the best [source],” quoted Duvauchelle.
Emphasising the importance of organic selenium in Olïse, he said “We want some organic selenium because the bioavailability is really one important thing in our process.”
With numerous large corporations active in the DHA market, Duvauchelle believes Olïse’s unique quality can differentiate it against competitors’ more generic product.
Olïse is the second product in their portfolio, following the launch of Algoselen earlier this year. Duvauchelle explained that it fits well into Metabolium’s strategy.
“Our DNA is to develop new products. We have some targets and we will continue on these targets. For some years we are working on what is the best way to combine micro-algae and organic selenium.”
Duvauchelle hinted at further products with a possible timeframe of 2019. However, he made it clear that the two existing products were the priorities for now.