Axitan is focused on and driven towards developing and commercialising a unique range of microalgae based biologics targeted at the $30 billion per annum animal health industry.

Microalgae constitutes the perfect vaccine delivery system, instead of manually injecting hundreds of millions of animals each year, our products are simply incorporated into their feed. What’s more, they are sustainable and environmentally friendly and have none of negative side effects associated with traditional antibiotics. Our strains have been precision engineered to produce proteins which, when consumed by the animal, help it to stay healthy, significantly reducing the cost and burden of disease. The proteins are completely safe for both the animal, the environment and for you. What’s more, by naturally ‘bioencapsulating’ the proteins within the microalgae, they are shielded from the harsh environment found in the animal’s stomach, ensuring that they retain their activity by the time they reach the intestine. They also have the added advantage of being incredibly temperature stable, thus eliminating the need for refrigerated transportation. This helps to reduce costs even further and enables us to reach out to the worlds less economically developed regions. Whilst we believe our technology can be applied to most production and companion animals, we are currently working on treatments for the poultry and aquaculture industry. We feel that as the price per animal drops the need for a cost effective and easy to administer treatment increases.


By the year 2050, the world will need to double food production to feed an estimated global population of 9.7 billion. We are going to need at least 70% more protein than what is available to humankind today. This challenge is simply staggering.

Many of today’s food production practices are unsustainable. For example, the overuse of antibiotics in livestock is a hugely problematic and has been a significant contributing factor in the emergence of bacterial antibiotic resistance. Whilst the direct healthcare costs of this are hard to estimate, In the US alone they have ranged as high as $20 billion a year and kill more than 700,000 people worldwide. A major advantage of Axitan’s microalgae based technology is it reduces the demand for antibiotics. Approximately 70% of the diseases known to affect humans are zoonotic, meaning that can be transmitted between animals and humans, so keeping our animals healthy also helps to keep us healthy. Through the use of vaccines, medicines, feed additives and improved production practices, our earth’s scarce resources and our own health can be better managed, enabling us to live longer healthier lives.

By the year 2050,
the world will need to double food production to feed a population of 9.7 billion people


1What are microalgae?
Microalgae represent a large and diverse group of photosynthetic microorganisms. They are unicellular with sizes ranging from a few micrometers (µm) to a few hundreds of micrometers. Unlike higher plants, microalgae do not have roots, stems, or leaves. They are capable of performing photosynthesis, producing approximately half of the atmospheric oxygen. Many strains of microalgae, such as the one Axitan uses, can grow using both inorganic carbon sources (such as carbon dioxide) in the present of light, and organic carbon sources (such as sugar) in the dark. The biodiversity of microalgae is enormous and they represent an almost untapped resource. It has been estimated that about 200,000-800,000 species in many different genera exist of which about 50,000 species are described.
2Why microalgae, can’t this be done is Yeast or E.coli?
Microalgae possess the cellular machinery required to fold complex proteins that bacteria and yeast may not be able to process properly. Many species of algae are considered GRAS - Generally Recognised as Safe. This means if the protein can be expressed in a bioavailable form, purification steps can be eliminated altogether removing up to 80% of production cost. Once dried the naturally encapsulated expressed proteins are highly temperature stable, enabling transport and storage without the need for refrigeration.
3What does GRAS mean?
GRAS is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognised As Safe, Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excepted from the definition of a food additive.
4Which animals are you developing products for?
Whilst we believe our technology can be applied to most production and companion animals, we are currently working on treatments for the poultry and aquaculture industry (finfish and shrimp). We feel that as the price per animal drops the need for a cost effective and easy to administer treatment increases.
5When are your products going to be on the market?
We anticipate that our first product will be on the market within the next three years. This will be quickly followed up by products two and three that will hit the market within 5 years.
6How much will they cost?
Due to the simplified manufacturing process compared to other forms of vaccine and the fact that we have eliminated most purification steps, we believe that our treatments will be competitive with traditional live vaccines and antibiotics. What’s more, they likely to be more efficacious, safer and easier to administer, meaning overall, including indirect costs, they will likely be cheaper than competing treatments.
7Are your products organic?
In general approved vaccines are allowed under the USDA organic standards. So yes, our products can be used in organic farming.
8Do they work?
In short yes. Early proof of concept data in chickens has demonstrated that they eat the algae, the product is not destroyed in the stomach and the chickens elicit the correct immune response. This shows that the antigens have been successfully absorbed by the gut and have reached their target location. We have a more rigorous set of trials taking place in the near future for our chicken product in addition to trials organised for our aquaculture products as well.
9Do you have any patents?
Much of our knowhow is being kept proprietary. However, we are currently generating data to support our patent applications, watch this space!


The animal medicines and vaccines sector is estimated to represent a global market of $30 billion. Rapid population growth, increased urbanization and rising per capita income in emerging markets is increasing the demand for animal protein.


100 million tonnes of poultry meat (equivalent to approximately 60 billion chickens) was produced in 2015. This is expected to grow by 24% over the next decade. The wholesale value of poultry shipments in the US alone (approx. 15% of world market) in 2016 is estimated to be $60bn. The economic losses to poultry diseases are currently estimated to be between 10 to 20 percent of gross value of production in developed countries and higher in developing ones.


78 million tonnes of aquaculture produce were farmed in 2014, worth approximately $160bn. Captured fish is stagnating but demand is expected to increase to 150 million tonnes in the next 35 years. Medicalization rates for fish rank at the lowest level of any livestock category. At least $6bn are lost annually to disease in aquaculture.

700,000 PEOPLE

Infections caused by drug resistant bacteria now kill more than 700,000 people per year. By 2050 drug-resistant infections could cost between 1.1% and 3.8% of global GDP and kill as many as 10m people per year. Approximately 70% of all antibiotics administered are used in livestock, Axitan’s technology render the use of much antibiotics redundant.