Algae producer, Zivo, in cultivation contract with Spanish company

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© istock/alzay
© istock/alzay
US firm, Zivo Bioscience, has just entered into a new cultivation contract with Algatek, based in Entrego, Spain, to produce its proprietary algae strain in photobioreactors, according to a company filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Michigan based producer is looking to bring its algal biomass and extracts to market as a food and feed ingredient.

Zivo said it is also looking at other growing facilities and weighing up potential offtake agreements.

Andrew Dahl, CEO of Zivo, told this publication in December that the company was engaging directly with producers in Europe, North America and South East Asia to forge such deals.

On the investment front, the filing​ shows US private equity firm, HEP Investments, which provided short-term, incremental funding to Zivo throughout 2016, coughed up another $1m in March this year.

Compliance efforts

Zivo said it is currently knee-deep in the regulatory compliance efforts required for US feed and food market entry.

To have sufficient algae biomass for regulatory testing and in preparation for eventual commercial production, it began to ramp up its production capability in spring 2016.

December last year saw it terminate its production contract with a Florida algae grower and enter into a biomass optimization/cultivation contract with Synthetic Genomics, Inc., based in California, which has a substantial production facility.

It said a wide range of toxicology, microbiome, metals, contaminants and nutritional testing of its proprietary algal strain and the cultivation methods used to produce the algal biomass is underway, or near completion.  

Once GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status is achieved, it expects its algal biomass can be marketed as a nutritional product for human use. The process for garnering regulatory approval for poultry, cattle and swine as a feed ingredient, which requires species specific testing, follows shortly thereafter, it added.

Poultry feed

However, a study to determine the commercial viability of incorporating a Zivo strain feed ingredient in a poultry nutrition program is already underway through an alliance it formed with feed additive producer, NutriQuest, at the end of last year.

The companies will jointly develop and test animal nutrition products derived from the strain.

The deal means NutriQuest gets a worldwide license to market the products under its brand name, said Dahl.

“Poultry feed manufacturers, in the EU and the US, and in Asia, at a later stage, are the initial target for the algae products.

“Once poultry is up and running, we may likely focus on swine,”​ he added.

Medicinal and therapeutic applications

Zivo said that the new funding that became available in early March 2017 will allow it to accelerate and expand its efforts in medicinal and therapeutic applications, specifically bovine mastitis.

Algae produce a cornucopia of bioactive compounds for a variety of internal and external functions, specifically small molecular entities (SME’s), to control their immediate environment and ward off potential invaders. When applied to mammals, these algae-based compounds exhibit unexpected and extremely valuable properties, such as immune response modulation, toxin binding, anti-inflammatory response, even micro-RNA expression.

“Isolating, validating and testing the bioactive compounds produced by the Zivo strain may yield several new and novel therapeutic agents for both human and animal use.”

It said the therapeutic and pharmaceutical space provides a handful of opportunities, but many of them could be significant, and even one successful market approval could mean “big things for Zivo.”

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