Dr. Mark Edwards has been called an “algaevangelist” for very good reason. And later this week, he’ll have a massive chance to spread the good word.
Dr. Edwards, the Vice-President of Corporate Development and Marketing with Algae Biosciences Incorporated, and AlgaeBio co-founder and CEO Andrew Ayers will be helping to staff the Global Health Trax, Inc. booth at Natural Products Expo West, an enormous annual trade show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., that will run from Friday, March 9 through Sunday, March 11.
Later this spring, AlgaeBio will begin large-scale commercial production of its ultra-pure omega-3 fatty acid oils, sourced from marine algae and grown in the sunlight of northeast Arizona’s high desert plains near Holbrook.
AlgaeBio and GHT have a sales and distribution contract in place that gives Vista, Calif.-based GHT exclusive rights to purchase and distribute AlgaeBio’s algal oils, which contain a rare blend of the essential fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), to the nutraceutical, food additive, and animal feed markets.
Opportunities such as Natural Products Expo West — the leading trade show in the natural, organic, and healthy products sectors, expected to attract more than 58,000 industry professionals — just don’t come along every day, notes Dr. Edwards.
“We’ll be at Expo West to promote GHT’s potential products that will contain AlgaeBio’s omega-3s,” says Dr. Edwards. “And we’ll also be there to begin educating the market on the value of clean, vegetable-based, non-fish-sourced omega-3s.”
With arrival and installation of the first 200 of AlgaeBio’s 1,500 proprietary bioreactors expected by mid-March, and a $5-million, first-phase expansion of the company’s Holbrook production facilities nearly complete, AlgaeBio expects to reach full commercial production of its omega-3 fatty acid oils during the second quarter of 2012.
The initial output of AlgaeBio’s algal oils will contain equal parts EPA and DHA at a blended ratio of 40 per cent. The vast majority of competing products on the market contain one of those long-chain essential fatty acids or the other, and many are purity challenged.
Of all the polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA and DHA are considered to be the most beneficial to the human body — particularly the heart, brain, joints, and cardiovascular system — and even more so when taken in tandem. A study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and released in the Feb. 28 issue of Neurology, suggests that lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with smaller brain volumes and worse cognitive performance.
“It’s an extremely laborious process to purify fish oil. We have no such issues,” says Ayers. “Ours is a high-quality, vegetable-based source of omega-3s with no pesticide residue, no heavy metals — and, because we use supercritical CO2 extraction, unlike some of our competitors, no traces of hexane.”
Hence, spreading the word to the nutritional supplements and food additives industry, which is growing bigger all the time. A recent report by U.S. market research publisher Packaged Facts predicted that worldwide consumer spending on omega-3-ehanced food and beverage products (excluding fish), healthy and beauty care products (including nutritional supplements), and pet products would hit the $13-billion mark by the beginning of 2012.
“We have lots of friends in the food industry. We want to sustain those relationships — so that we keep up a dialogue with the big food companies, like Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble, and the small natural-food companies,” says Dr. Edwards. “We see our omega-3 oils going into lots of functional foods. We want to understand that market, and (Natural Products Expo West) gives us a lot of opportunity to talk to people in the marketplace.”
AlgaeBio’s downstream opportunities include: pharmaceuticals, such as designer proteins, vaccines, enzymes, antibodies, and research agents; sustainable biofuels; macroalgae for human food; organic pigments that can replace synthetic dyes in food and cosmetics; organic compounds called carotenoids, which as potent antioxidants reduce cell damage and fight disease; and liquid feed for marine life.
ABOUT ALGAE BIOSCIENCES INCORPORATED: AlgaeBio is an Arizona biotechnology company that researches, develops, and manufactures ultra-pure products from micro and macro algae such as nutraceuticals, food additives, and pharmaceuticals. With access to near-perfect algae growing conditions, exclusive aquaculture access to a pristine brine water supply, and advanced proprietary technology, AlgaeBio produces superior human and animal consumable products, as well as offering advanced algae-based products and technologies for distribution into the agribusiness, biofuel, and aquaculture markets. AlgaeBio owns and operates large-scale production facilities near Holbrook, Ariz., and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Algae Biosciences Corporation.