VG Energy, UniQuest to optimize algae 'lipid trigger' compound

By Viral Genetics Inc. | June 18, 2012

VG Energy, the majority-owned subsidiary of Viral Genetics, has entered into an agreement with UniQuest Pty. Ltd., the commercialization arm of the University of Queensland, Australia, to optimize the use of Metabolic Disruption Technology compounds in algae lipid production. Optimization will occur through experiments leading to the identification of the ideal concentration, timing and amount of MDT compounds to use. The multipart study will begin with 10 of the most commercially viable algae strains in their optimized production environments, and narrow the set down to one, top-responding strain. The study is intended to guide the subsequent design of advanced commercialization and scale-up studies using the optimized strain, production method and dosing. VG Energy researchers have shown in multiple studies to produce a 10 to 300 percent increase in the lipids produced by various strains of algae and other plant sources that can potentially be distilled into biofuel, and other high-value oils for the food, cosmetics and nutraceuticals industries.

The project will be carried out by Associate Prof. Ben Hankamer of the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience via its main commercialization company, UniQuest Pty. Ltd., and is expected to take several months. Ben Hankamer is the director of the Solar Biofuels Consortium, which brings together seven international teams and approximately 100 researchers working on biofuels and production optimization. The consortium fosters close partnerships with industries that have synergy to establish effective value chains including the biotechnology, engineering, oil, airline and manufacturing industries.

Monica Ord, Viral Genetics’ senior vice president of corporate development, commented, saying, “We are thrilled to be working with UniQuest, Solar Biofuels Consortium and Professor Ben Hankamer. Their production processes, scientists and technology are some of the highest quality available today. This opportunity gives us the capability to access input from a consortium of researchers and unique processes to bring our product to the optimal level. We are very grateful to David White of Virgin Australia for making the introduction to Professor Hankamer seven months ago. Since that time we have completed additional internal studies and have successfully finalized the protocols for this analysis, which will help move us along to the next step toward commercialization of the product. We are excited to get started.”

VG Energy Inc. is an alternative energy and agricultural biotech company that is a majority-owned subsidiary of Viral Genetics Inc., a biotechnology company researching new treatments and methods of detection for diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS and others. Using its Metabolic Disruption Technology, Viral Genetics’ cancer research led to discoveries with major consequences in a wide variety of other industries, including biofuel and vegetable oils. VG Energy holds the exclusive worldwide license to the MDT patent rights for use in the increase of production of various plant-derived oils from algae and seeds. These pivotal discoveries promise to allow the biofuel industry to overcome its major obstacle in the area of production efficiency: namely, an increase in production yields leading to feasible economic returns on investment, allowing renewable biodiesel to be competitive with fossil fuels.

San Marino, Calif.-based Viral Genetics discovers drug therapies from two platform technologies based on over 60 patents: Metabolic Disruption and Targeted Peptides. Founded in 1994, the biotech company is researching treatments for HIV/AIDS, Lyme Disease, Strep, Staph and drug resistant cancer.

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