Fucoidans are sulphated polysaccharides found in macroalgal species, which have been studied over the past 20 years for their role to protect and promote healthy skin in cosmetic applications, as well as use as selectin-inhibitors, antivirals, growth factor inhibitors and receptor blockers.
They have been consumed for many hundreds of years in Asian countries such as Japan, China and Korea, in the form of whole seaweed.
Marinova has previously offered fucoidans from Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida, provided exclusively to an undisclosed global nutritional company out of its existing macroagal harvesting, blending and milling facilities.
At the new facility, which has cost in excess of Aus$10m (US$7.3m) and has a capacity of 100kg of extracted fucoidan per month, it will be able to extract from over 10 other species, such as Fucus vesiculosus, Ascophyllum nodosum, Laminaria digitata and Macrocystis pyrifera. In September 2004 the company partnered with Novost (a chemical company in which it currently has a major shareholding and which it plans to incorporate as a fully-owned subsidiary) on the fractionation of the fucoidan molecules.
This means that it can deliver different fractions for specific nutritional, nutraceutical and cosmetic applications, giving clients the scope to select the specific fucoidan subtype to meet their needs.
In addition to immune support, it is envisaged that fucoidans could be used in supplements aimed at preventing or alleviating the symptoms of other health indications, including metabolic syndrome, deep vein thrombosis, irritable bowel syndrome and osteoarthrisis.
The company - which claims to be the world's number one fucoidan extractor - already prided itself it fucoidans being impurity-free, having a high molecular weight and being nature equivalent.
Marinova business development manager Nick Falk told NutraIngredients.com earlier this year that some Chinese companies have begun extracting fucoidan from seaweeds in recent years using a solvent-based process. But Marinova's process is water-based, meaning that the molecular make-up remains unchanged and its fucoidans are 'nature identical'.
But Falk explained that investments in Marinova's R&D program mean it can now offer the same fucoidans to nutraceutical partners as it has been using in its HIV and oncology research.
It is envisaged that nutraceutical sales will help fund pharmaceutical developments. Marinova has already investigated the activity of specific fractions as vital attachment inhibitors in herpes and HIV.
Although the market is not yet large enough to be tracked, fucoidans have recently started to be used in nutraceutical products in Australia and the US - for instance in Mannatech's Advanced Ambrotose supplement for immune health.
Falk told NutraIngredients.com earlier this year that that the company is seeking more nutraceutical partners in the US, Australia and Europe.