Surge in demand for biotech based antifouling agent

I-Tech CEO Philip Chaabane: Venturing from academia into the industry of antifouling has been truly demanding I-Tech CEO Philip Chaabane: Venturing from academia into the industry of antifouling has been truly demanding

FEBRUARY 9, 2016 —I-Tech, a Swedish bio-tech company founded by a group of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, reports an "extraordinary" upsurge in demand for its biotechnology based antifouling agent Selektope following its approval under the EU's Biocidal Products Regulations.

Selektope is the industry's first pharmacological means of combatting barnacle settlement. In the first month of 2016, orders have already amounted to double the volume achieved during the whole of 2015, with antifoulings including Selektope being applied for complete hull coating projects.

I-Tech CEO Philip Chaabane says that the higher than anticipated demand from shipowners and acceptance by major coatings suppliers of performance claims for the biotechnology solution represent a decisive movement in the marine paints industry.

"We are very pleased to witness the market response to Selektope following recent achievements in securing major regulatory approval," says Mr. Chaabane. "A key factor is the product's ability to extend static performance of the coating, which is one of the major areas where improvements are needed. This is a good start. I am confident that uptake by the marine coatings industry will quickly bring Selektope's other benefits into focus, contributing to an overall improvement in the performance of antifouling coatings."

I-Tech has been able to meet the surge in demand through an agreement with life sciences giant Cambrex to produce Selektope on an industrial scale.

"Venturing from academia into the industry of antifouling has been truly demanding, and we still have a long way to go. But we are stronger than ever and determined to see continued success," says Mr. Chaabane.  

Selektope's pharmacological mode of action combats barnacle settlement by temporarily stimulating the octopamine receptor so that the barnacle larvae's swimming behavior is activated and the organisms are deterred from the hull. This enable unrivaled power at very low concentrations, yet within the limits of rigorous risk assessments.

Selektope is an organic, non-metal compound with efficacy proven at 0.1% w/w.

I-Tech holds all IP and regulatory rights to Selektope (generic name, medetomidine).

The company is privately held and is supported by Swedish Energy Association, the European Innovation Initiative Eco-Innovation and FP7 SeaFront. The company is a member of the Astra Zeneca BioVentureHub.

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