Ocean Harvest Technology gains ‘competitive edge’ on seaweed blends with new patent

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Warchi
© GettyImages/Warchi

Related tags seaweed Ocean Harvest Technology Salmon butyrate FCR

Ocean Harvest Technology (OHT), headquartered in the UK, reports a significant competitive advantage with the issuance of a new patent by the UK Intellectual Property Office.

The patent precludes other companies from making core claims about the benefits that distinguish OHT’s OceanFeed branded products.

Specializing in the development and supply of blended seaweed products as functional additives for the global animal feed industry, OHT, established in 2005, operates in Galway, Ireland, and the Binh Duong province, Vietnam. Its products have application across all farmed animal production systems, aquaculture, and companion animals.

Mark Williams, CEO of OHT, emphasized the pivotal importance of the newly granted patent, saying: "This is a key milestone for us. Over the years, our trials across multiple species have demonstrated the benefits of our blended seaweed ingredient, from accelerated growth rates and reduced mortality to improved feed conversion ratios (FCR). The patent, submitted over three years ago, enables us to claim the transformative impact our seaweed blend has on the host animal's microbiome, leading to these enhanced outcomes."

The patent's broad coverage of blend percentages provides flexibility and comprehensive protection for OHT's entire range, making it challenging, if not impossible, for others to make similar claims about blended seaweed ingredients, he added.

It reinforces OHT's assertions that its products positively influence the gut through a substantiated prebiotic effect, resulting in improved body weight and feed efficiency across various animals. “The core claim revolves around the blended seaweed ingredient enhancing the abundance and diversity of butyrate-producing bacteria, leading to more efficient nutrient absorption,” explained Williams.

IP strategy 

Aligning with OHT's comprehensive model for building a competitive advantage, including supply chain optimization and knowledge accumulation, its intellectual property (IP) strategy aims to establish seaweed-based feed additives as a substantial component in the $40bn feed additive market.

As far as the company is aware, this patent stands as the sole grant in any of OHT's target markets that comprehensively covers the mode of action of a seaweed blend as an additive to animal feed diets.

Patent applications in key jurisdictions, including the EU and North America, are progressing as planned, the CEO told FeedNavigator.

Ongoing research 

OHT, heavily invested in studies and armed with a vast body of trial data, continues to inform its growth strategy through ongoing studies across different research institutes for various species. Current endeavors include a salmon trial in an undisclosed European market, with data expected later this year.

While emphasizing the core benefits of higher growth rates and improved FCR to customers, OHT is increasingly highlighting the sustainability benefits of using seaweeds in its products. With one of the lowest carbon footprints in animal feed ingredients, seaweed requires no freshwater, arable land, or fertilizers, said the OHT lead. The company uses wild-sourced seaweeds, which it maintains further contributes to sustainability by preventing the release of carbon and phosphates into the environment.

Nico Stein, appointed as the company's chief commercial officer in February, underscores OHT's focus on customer acquisition, said Williams, with an existing pipeline of customers currently trialing the products.

“And we have increased visibility over the supply chain, which gives us huge confidence to support the growth that we are seeing on the sales side,” reported the CEO.

The OHT patent was issued under the designation GB1909443.2 by the UK Intellectual Property Office and is titled ‘Seaweed Blend for Modifying Gut Microbiota.’ 

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