Provectus Algae is an Australia-based biotechnology company specializing in the optimization of microalgae species to produce high-value biobased chemicals, specialty ingredients, and biologics for use in a wide array of industries and applications. Provectus Algae enables groundbreaking capabilities with a well-balanced fusion of innovative proprietary technology and a thorough knowledge of the unique biological traits of microalgae. By leveraging advanced automation, machine learning, and synthetic biology approaches, Provectus Algae can rapidly develop, execute, and license biomanufacturing processes depending on the needs of our commercial partners.
Below, learn about how we became a leading microalgae biotechnology company as well as the mission, vision, and core strengths that empower us. In short, it’s all about using microalgae to generate critically needed sustainable bioproducts to help build a more sustainable bioeconomy.
Provectus Algae originates from an appreciation of algae’s ability to efficiently capture carbon dioxide for metabolic purposes and its place in diverse ecosystems across the planet. In particular, photosynthetic microalgae (also known as phytoplankton) rely their unique metabolic features to produce a wide range of biochemicals needed for survival in highly specific niches using light and CO2. In addition, these microalgae often act as the primary source of chemical energy and nutrition in their ecosystems, meaning that complex interplays exist between microalgae and the organisms that consume them, which in turn drives further evolution.
Provectus Algae’s founder and CEO, Nusqe Spanton, educated as a marine biotechnologist, built his career creating and operating global large-scale aquaculture facilities, particularly for pearl oyster production. Pearl oysters are obligate microalgae consumers. So to generate pearls in large scales, Nusqe needed to carry out microalgae cultivation and produce high enough quantities to feed the oysters. To reach ideal growth and performance, these oysters require specific microalgae in their feed, including species not grown at-commercial scales due to their fragile and capricious natures. Nusqe researched their unique behaviors in culture to recreate the specific microenvironments these underutilized microalgae species needed to grow. In this work, it became clear that microalgae cultivation conditions impacted the metabolic behavior of the microalgae, in addition to their growth.
Over the years, Nusqe developed significant knowledge and appreciation for microalgae cultivation, rising to the top of his craft in aquaculture. He also became fascinated by the metabolic diversity, natural product profiles, and unique cellular characteristics that make microalgae stand apart. In time, Nusqe reached a turning point. Instead of producing luxury goods, he wanted to apply his 15+ years of aquaculture and microalgae cultivation know-how to benefit people’s lives more directly. In considering the crisis of climate change, he found that calling.
There’s a massive problem with how we manufacture products. The manufacturing industry depends on vast, costly inputs and generates a large carbon footprint. In fact, ~20% of global carbon emissions stem from manufacturing. It’s not alarmist to say that this dependence on unsustainable manufacturing contributes significantly to the destruction of our planet.
Nusqe identified that widespread adoption of microalgae biomanufacturing could be a mechanism to reduce carbon emissions while still creating sustainable bioproducts people need. By instead relying on photosynthetic microalgae and their natural capacity to generate high-value chemicals and specialty ingredients in demand across industries, we have the opportunity to actually reach carbon-negative manufacturing.
After experiencing the challenges of growing numerous microalgae species at scale, Nusqe was hyperaware of the technological gaps limiting other industries from adopting and harnessing these fantastic microbes. But, the rapid rise of bioinformatics, machine learning, automation, and synthetic biology presented an incredible opportunity to find viable commercial solutions to realize microalgae biomanufacturing for the masses.
Through Nusqe’s work and broader research developments, he recognized a need for a company that could develop and apply microalgae biomanufacturing technologies that solve each challenge. In doing so, that company could bring more microalgae species online as biomanufacturing chassis, tap them for their unique properties and metabolic profiles, and culture them at scale.
In 2018, Nusqe founded Provectus Algae to generate an end-to-end microalgae biomanufacturing platform capable of spanning molecular discovery, product development, and commercial biomanufacturing. In the early days, the company focused on understanding the special importance light holds for microalgae growth and gene expression. During this time, Provectus Algae developed our Precision Photosynthesis™ technology to drive superior cellular productivity and targeted biosynthesis. Since then, our team rapidly grew to meet the many demands of building out our ambitious program. Our team now includes molecular and synthetic biologists, analytical chemists, engineers, machine learning scientists, quality officers, and financial and business leaders.
Programming microalgae comes in various forms, including genetic engineering, careful control of microalgae cultivation conditions, and bioprocess development. Through our end-to-end biomanufacturing platform and bespoke microalgae biotechnologies, we can readily control microalgae bioprocesses to make them scalable and commercially viable.
No doubt, this is a lofty goal. But, by delivering enabling technologies and leveraging our expert knowledge of microalgae, we believe we can actualize a valuable enterprise that simultaneously increases sustainability for the high-value chemicals and biologics market.
Core Strengths For Building a Sustainable Bioeconomy