The biorevolution is well underway, ushering in an era of biomanufacturing decades in the making. Demand for products made using biological systems continues to increase as individuals increasingly see the value of tapping nature’s chemical creativity, biological specificity, and environmental sustainability. Thus, the biomanufacturing industry will only continue to grow in the coming decades as researchers more fully explore life for its societal and commercial value.
With the advancement of bioinformatics, genetic engineering, and automated workflows, a growing community of biotechnologists are expanding the slate of biodiscovery platforms, expression systems, and candidate bioproducts available to companies for use in their own products. Yet, adopting new bioproducts and biomanufacturing strategies often comes with additional risks associated with the difficulties of novel bioprocess scale-up. In short, there’s a big difference between bench scales and industrial bioprocesses, especially for less explored molecules and approaches.
At Provectus Algae, we believe that discovering novel bioproducts in microalgae provides little value if those products can’t be made reliably and consistently at relevant scales. Thus, a core aspect of our microalgae biomanufacturing platform is its emphasis on taking microalgae bioproducts through bioprocess development and scale-up to support commercialization. To achieve a genuinely end-to-end biomanufacturing platform, we have invested heavily in our in-house engineering capabilities to design and produce the many hardware and software technologies needed to ensure seamless market delivery of novel algae bioproducts.
Below, we discuss Provectus’s Algae’s advanced biomanufacturing solutions and our complete supply of industrial bioprocess technologies.
Reaching industrial bioprocess scales is often the most significant challenge for biotechnology and synthetic biology companies aiming to bring a bioproduct to market. In many cases, bioprocess scale-up is THE obstacle that inhibits incredible concepts, novel molecular products, and groundbreaking technologies from having their expected effect. Microalgae bioproducts are far from being an exception. In fact, companies have struggled in the past to commercialize microalgae compounds and biomass, primarily because of difficulties ensuring consistent large-scale production.
Historically, microalgae bioprocesses struggled mainly because of the weaknesses in existing production approaches. Microalgae cultivated in large-scale, open-air pond systems struggled with inconsistent production and contamination. Though existing microalgae photobioreactor systems offered more process control, they have often struggled to reach the scales possible in pond systems, thus offering limited commercial viability. These photobioreactors’ scalability issues mostly relate to insufficient lighting, cellular fragility, and a lack of predictability during scale-up.
To solve microalgae bioprocess scale-up challenges, our team developed and validated our own microalgae photobioreactors from the ground up. Relying on our microalgae cultivation expertise, we engineered a more scalable, reliable, and controllable microalgae production system. Importantly, our microalgae photobioreactors can be used in more regulated manufacturing environments, including those requiring cGMP and TGA standards.
Our photobioreactors use some of the most advanced artificial lighting technologies available to improve photosynthetic biomanufacturing productivity. This includes our Precision Photosynthesis™ technology, which provides unprecedented control over light conditions and real-time process feedback to support rapid light recipe optimization. Using Precision Photosynthesis, Provectus Algae can readily identify the ideal light recipes needed to grow specific microalgae efficiently and maximize target material expression during the bioprocess development stage. Importantly, we incorporated Precision Photosynthesis into our microalgae photobioreactors such that light delivery remains more consistent across scales. In effect, this means that our small-scale optimization steps in bioprocess development are more predictive of microalgae behavior in large-scale culture.
Additionally, our team spent countless hours designing our microalgae photobioreactor systems to understand and minimize the strain placed on these photosynthetic cells. Since cell fragility has long been a challenge to large-scale microalgae photobioreactor systems, we designed our bioreactors to be sufficiently gentle, thereby able to grow a broader range of species.
By combining modern computational fluid dynamics with our in-house bioprocess data, Provectus Algae continues to refine our understanding of the conditions inside our photobioreactors and how they impact microalgae growth. Every new production run teaches us more about how light, fluid, and gas behave in our reactors. In turn, this helps us further improve scale-up predictability, stabilize specific fragile species more quickly, and adjust our systems to suit particular products.
Provectus Algae has even developed continuous bioprocessing approaches for microalgae using these technologies. These continuous bioprocesses help to further ensure consistent product supply without needing to rely on batch production or colossal bioreactors.
By maintaining a focus on ensuring commercial success, we have assembled microalgae photobioreactor systems capable of bringing a wider slate of bioproducts to market. By emphasizing designs and bioprocesses that improve scalability, Provectus Algae can seamlessly transition products through bench, pilot, and commercial production, saving expense and time for our partners.
Like other manufacturing processes across the world’s industries, biomanufacturing must become increasingly automated and digitalized. The complexities and cost associated with bioproduction drive biomanufacturers to seek out new efficiencies. Automating manual time-consuming bioprocess steps and incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor, process, and analyze data are crucial for this transition. It is also just as essential to ensure that bioprocess-specific hardware, robotics, and advanced software can work together.
By nesting original hardware in a bed of automated workflows and our fit-to-purpose software, Provectus Algae can accelerate bioprocess development, optimize bioprocess scale-up, and execute advanced industrial bioprocesses to deliver unmatched bioproduction timelines. By fully integrating automation technologies with AI and machine learning, we can build biomanufacturing facilities with complete remote bioprocess monitoring and operation capabilities. In turn, this helps us and our partners keep expert staff focused on the most valuable tasks, eliminating the most time-consuming, manual tasks that limit productivity. Our team uses an impressive collection of robotics for liquid handling, cellular analysis, bioprocess monitoring, and more to help bring a diverse array of microalgae online for biomanufacturing purposes.
A key component of our digital approach is our automated cellular analytics system. This bioprocess monitoring tool helps us to track microalgae culture heath and cellular phenomics across species in real-time, a first of its kind for microalgae biomanufacturing.
Provectus Algae’s cellular analytics system combines sensors, robotic liquid handling, microfluidics, computational microscopy, and machine learning (ML) to automatically sample cultures, collect data, and analyze bioprocess efficacy. The system independently captures images of microalgae cultures and uploads massive data sets to our cloud architecture, where our bespoke machine learning algorithms perform optical detection and phenotypic evaluation. Our ML workflow captures key culture characteristics, like cell counts, sexual stages, color, shape, and contamination and associates that information with bioreactor sensor data, light recipes, and culture conditions. Upon transmitting this information back to a user interface, scientific teams can parse out critical optimization steps for bioprocess development. Additionally, production teams can use the system to monitor pilot and commercial manufacturing runs to help ensure their success and maximize output.
Each passing production run also can provide more data to our machine-learning systems for further training, thus helping to iteratively improve its capabilities in the future. In turn, we can use this information to create new custom hardware and bioprocesses to solve unique challenges associated with new molecules and less explored microalgae species.
Our team of experts have decades of combined experience building large-scale manufacturing sites across the globe. This expertise equips us with the knowledge and skillset needed to produce products at commercial scales and maintain a continuous supply. With our collective expertise, Provectus Algae can serve as a single source for sustainable biomanufacturing technologies while also ensuring successful tech transfers and site assembly. As projects progress through our pipeline, Provectus Algae can support our partners by either serving as a commercial-scale contract manufacturer or overseeing the construction of their own facilities that use our licensed technologies.
As projects progress through our pipeline, Provectus Algae can support our partners by either serving as a commercial-scale contract manufacturer or overseeing the construction of their own facilities that use our licensed technologies.
Provectus Algae also owns and operates biomanufacturing facilities to suit the needs of our partners. If our partners lack internal bioproduction capabilities, these facilities are available for contract biomanufacturing. Our sites use cutting-edge sustainable technologies to create clean biomanufacturing sites that use atmospheric air intake and recirculating water systems. As it stands, our biomanufacturing facilities include…
Provectus Algae aims to expand our slate of biomanufacturing facilities to help provide greater reach and customer access. Ultimately, we intend to operate many global manufacturing sites for pilot and contract manufacturing. Like our existing facilities, these sites will be monitored and controlled remotely from our headquarters using cloud-based systems. With this approach, we can rapidly and reliably scale out our facilities to maximize efficiency and output.
For those that need greater control over their supply chain, Provectus Algae can also provide a complete supply of technologies and unmatched expertise needed to build a commercial microalgae biomanufacturing site. By operating their own site using our platform, our partners can enjoy the benefits of highly localized production and further minimize supply chain risks. Rather than take on the challenge of microalgae biomanufacturing alone, teams can partner with Provectus Algae to access our hard-earned microalgae bioproduction knowledge for their own sites.
In these partnerships, Provectus Algae will use our facilities to figure out how to make a product of interest at scale. Simultaneously, we can license our technologies and assist in constructing clean biomanufacturing sites. Upon completion, our team can provide seamless technology transfer and assist with bioprocess validation.
Importantly, our platform provides significant flexibility. Our photobioreactor systems are highly modular, making them super amenable to changes in scale based on demand. We can elongate our photobioreactors in several different ways to fit consumer needs. We can also deploy our technologies anywhere, enabling rapid, sustainable production of biobased chemicals wherever needed.
Whether you need a giant GMP-grade biomanufacturing site or a small modular facility, we can ensure that you can build the exact site required to take your products to the next level.