Axitan has established a robust platform to genetically engineer and grow microalgae in a cost effective and sustainable manner. Microalgae are a highly sophisticated but currently underutilised microorganism. However, through the use of our technology, microalgae based biologics will make an invaluable contribution to the animal health industry in the near future.
As an expression system for recombinant proteins microalgae exhibit several advantages when compared to more traditional microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. They possess complex protein folding machinery making it possible to produce products that bacteria and yeast would have trouble making. Many strains of algae have also are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) meaning they can be consumed by humans and animals in whole cell form.
We use strain engineering technologies developed by one of our scientific advisors, Prof. Saul Purton (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/algae) of University College London. The algae strains and engineering techniques we use allow us to make sophisticated products that can target complex pathogens. Our products are designed with biosafety in mind. As such, we have inserted mechanisms into our algae that make it incredibly hard for its recombinant DNA to be exploited by other microorganisms found in the wild.
ALGAE PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING
Once promising strains of microalgae have been developed, they are grown in our proprietary photobioreactor (PBR). The PBR is scalable, highly productive and has the ability to be steam sterilised, meaning it is perfectly suited to the rigorous regulations surrounding the veterinary health industry. We have experience in autotrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic algal culture, and have developed proprietary media formulations that allow us to achieve exceptional cell densities. Our final products are formulated using whole algal biomass. Upon harvesting, we separate the water from the algae then dry it into a powder. This process enables us to essentially eliminate the cost of purification, which in some instances can account for as much as 80% of production costs.