CyanoCare - A green solution for greener businesses
Cyanobacteria. To many marine experts these (so considered) microalgae are an extraordinary combination between a bacterium and plants, capable of obtaining energy through photosynthesis and producing oxygen. However, their capabilities can go way beyond, as far as making business more sustainable and even saving lives! We talked with Rita Mota and we bring you today all the details about CyanoCare!
[CLICK HERE to access the PDF document of the interview and more]
The Team behind CyanoCare
Rita Mota and Bruna Costa are the faces behind CyanoCare, a business idea that is based at the UPTEC startup incubator. To support them, they have a great team composed by Jorge Cardoso, Luís Costa and Paula Tamagnini, from the Bioengineering and Synthetic Microbiology Group at i3S. Together, they are unveiling the true potential of cyanobacteria!
The discovery of Cyanoflan!
After years studying the polymers that can be extracted from cyanobacteria, the team discovered Cyanoflan: “This complex polymer has a wide range of uses due to its intricated matrix: in the cosmetic industry to stabilize emulsions and achieve the desired product composition, in the pharma industry as a drug vehicle and even in the textile industry!”. The advantages? Rita answered promptly that “Besides coming from a natural source, the extraction processes its easier and the production doesn’t require the use of freshwater, because it is a marine species!”. But there’s more! “The bi-products (biomass) can also have many applications – aquaculture feed, biofertilizer, natural colorants, etcetera!”. So far, an international patent covering the biotechnological applications of the polymer is already submitted.
Parallel projects are pushing towards healthcare
Rita and Bruna are also participating in a similar, but different, business idea called AntiBioCoat in collaboration with Bioengineered Surfaces group inside i3S. The team is focused in cyanobacterial polymers that prevent bacteria from adhering to medical devices, preventing infections. This business idea is running at full speed and is now finishing the proof of concept to make a catheter prototype with the polymer.
A 2018 full of experiences, recognitions and…MyBlueCity!
During 2018 the team was distinguished with the Born From Knowledge (BfK) award by ANI (Portuguese National Agency for Innovation) for the development of both technologies. They participated in acceleration programs such as the HiSeedTech and were finalists of the ClimateLaunchpad promoted by EIT Climate-KIC, which was crucial to mature both business ideas.
They were also present at the MyBlueCity 2018! Rita shares their experience: “The MyBlueCity allowed us to be in a business environment, where we were able to have direct contact with CEOs from big international cosmetic companies and have their feedback on our products. Also, many contacts for potential partnerships were made and most of them are part of the strategy for 2019!”. We are also proud to highlight an outcome that was born from the MyBlueCity: “We got to know Platicemar, a programme that supports the creation of new companies in the blue economy, and we just knew this month that we were selected to participate!”. Click HERE to see their pitch!
What will be the next steps for CyanoCare?
The team’s goals for 2019 seem pretty well defined: “Besides participating in the Platicemar, we are also looking into the 2nd edition of the BlueBioValue programme and other supporting programmes to bring our business ideas forward!”. Besides these challenges, the team aims to finish the ongoing experimental validations for product optimization and cost/benefit analysis for industrial production.”. To start this process, a partnership is already established with A4F. After this, Rita explains that the road continues with “a greater focus on management support, regulation and initial funding of the business ideas!”.
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