AQUASEARCH AWARDED FIRST PATENT IN ASIA FOR MICROALGAE PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY 04:15 a.m. Sep 30, 1998 Eastern
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Aquasearch, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: AQSE) today announced the award of another patent for its microalgae production technology, the Aquasearch Growth Module. The patent was awarded in Hong Kong for the company's "Process and Apparatus for the Production of Photosynthetic Microbes."
"This patent is an important step for us," said Mark Huntley, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Aquasearch. "It affords us potential protection from competitors who might be tempted to use our technology to produce products sold in or through Hong Kong. Hong Kong is still one of the largest trading centers in Asia and is the gateway to China. Many Asian economies are sluggish, but China's GDP is still growing at almost 5% per year."
Huntley said that Cultor, Ltd., Aquasearch's strategic partner, is planning a product launch in Asia within the next few months of Aquaxan(R), Cultor's fish feed additive made using Aquasearch's microalgal astaxanthin.
The Aquasearch Growth Module is a "photobioreactor" -- a closed yet sunlit chamber designed to produce microalgae under controlled conditions. The Hong Kong patent describes the photobioreactor apparatus and certain processes that are critical for its operation. The Company was awarded an Australian patent in 1994 and a European patent in 1997 for its photobioreactor apparatus. A U.S. patent was issued to Aquasearch in 1996 for certain production processes used in photobioreactor operation.
"Biotechnology companies are strengthened when patents are issued protecting their important intellectual property," said David Watumull, a former biotechnology industry analyst who is now Executive Vice-President of Corporate Finance and Strategic Development for Aquasearch. "These patents provide biotechnology companies, like Aquasearch, with a mechanism for preventing competitors from usurping their technology and undermining their R&D efforts."
Watumull said the four patents now held by Aquasearch send a clear signal that the company's platform technology is unique. "This Company has a strong intellectual property position. I believe that additional patents pending, when announced or granted, will further enhance the Company's competitive position. The Company's intellectual property strategy is clearly defined and we will vigorously defend these assets wherever and whenever necessary."
Aquasearch Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: AQSE) is a marine biotechnology company that develops and commercializes high value natural products from microalgae, using its proprietary technology known as the "Aquasearch Growth Module." Microalgae are a diverse group of 30,000 microscopic plants that produce many different and unusual proteins, fats, sugars, amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, pigments, and other bioactive compounds. These products have existing and potential commercial applications in such fields as natural colorings, cosmetics, medical diagnostic products, and therapeutic pharmaceuticals.
Aquasearch's first product is a pigment (astaxanthin) for use in the feed industry, under contract to Cultor Ltd. of Finland, a multi-billion dollar food conglomerate and the world's second largest consumer of this important feed additive. The two companies are jointly engaged in further product development.
This press release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), including statements that include the words "believes", "expects," "anticipates," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Aquasearch to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the risk factors included in Aquasearch's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the fiscal year ended October 31, 1997 and any subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Exchange Act. SOURCE Aquasearch, Inc.
Copyright 1998, PR Newswire