Based in Ontario, Ovensa has three chitosan-based active ingredients in its portfolio including this latest, highly stable molecule, according to the company’s site.
This particular derivative of chitosan is being sold under the name Triozan and was developed at the University du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR).
Aligo Innovation, a new company creating value from intellectual property assets of select Canadian institutions, granted the licence to Ovensa. It “is a perfect example of a pan-Canadian collaboration between academic and industrial institutions where synergistic value creation is demonstrated,” states the media release announcing the licensure.
The UQAR credits professor Jonathan Gagnon with creating Triozan. Gagnon is a professor of chemistry in the department of biology, chemistry and geography at the university. His work concentrates on the purification, characterization and modification of polysaccharides from natural sources.
Chitosan most commonly comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans and is a natural ingredient readily sourced from the shells of shrimp used in other industry.
"In Quebec, some 30,000 metric tons of marine products are processed by our plants annually, with more than half of the total residue being sent to municipal landfills resulting in considerable costs for both the municipalities and the businesses. This technology allows us to valorize these waste products for a variety of different applications," explains Priyum Koonjul, director of business development at Aligo Innovation.
Beautiful business potential
The distinct technique and molecule in question here could be of particular interest to the cosmetics and skin care industries. “The TMC [trimethyl chitosan] technology platform is based on a high value-added chitosan derivative with multiple properties that clearly sets it apart from regular chitosan,” according to the release.
Notably, “its properties allow, amongst other things, amplifying the penetration of active agents into the skin and through the mucous membranes of the human body. Triozan thus has the potential to increase the efficacy of cosmetic, nutrition and pharmaceutical products,” the media release continues.
Should Triozan indeed prove uniquely valuable as a cosmetics ingredient, business gains will surely follow to the manufacturer. "This technological platform will allow us to establish numerous partnerships and we are already encouraged by the initial enthusiasm shown by cosmetics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies,” says Stéphane Gagné, President of Ovensa.
More fun with shrimp
Cosmetics formulators already use chitosan as an anti-aging and skin regenerative ingredient. For instance cosmeceutical brand Janssen sells Hydro Chitosan hydrating ampoules as part of the Skin Excel line, and Medileen KOR markets an anti-aging facial mask with chitosan and EGF.
More recently scientists have found a way to make a new plastic for packaging from it. “Our scalable manufacturing method shows that chitosan, which is readily available and inexpensive, can serve as a viable bioplastic that could potentially be used instead of conventional plastics for numerous industrial applications,” Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., and founding director of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University explained when the manufacturing process was announced early last year.