New research initiative seeks to identify algae-sourced compounds for inflammatory GI diseases

Yemoja Ltd to partners with Migal Galilee Research Institute to identify micro algae-sourced compounds to support inflammatory bowel diseases.

Yemoja, Ltd. i(Tel Hai, Israel) partnered with the Migal Galilee Research Institute to spearhead a four-year research initiative—Algae4IBD—to identify algae-sourced compounds with the potential to help manage inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The initiative was awarded a €7.5 million grant from the EU funding arm, Horizon 2020, and is comprised of a 21-member consortium composed of marine science experts, research institutes, universities, hospitals, and IBD centers, and algae cultivation companies. The campaign, led by Dorit Avni, PhD, a senior researcher for MIGAL, will develop select beneficial algae into functional foods, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceutical applications.

“We believe a promising solution for this illness could be hiding within the cell walls of microalgae,” said Amikam Bar Gil, PhD, CTO of Yemoja, in a press release. “There are some preliminary data within the peer-reviewed literature suggesting that microalgae could harbor anti-inflammatory activity within the digestive tract. Although this arm of research is still in early stages, leaving an ocean of knowledge still needing to be uncovered. This consortium was devised to pioneer the first robust and broadscale inquiry into the positive connection between microalgae and IBD.”

Yemoja will be responsible for cultivating multiple strains of known and novel microalgae to be screened for their potential anti-IBD properties. Several hundred strains will be screened before advancing to clinical trials. 

“Yemoja operates a cutting-edge, indoor system for cultivating high-value, pure, and uncompromisingly standardized microalgae biomaterials,” Avni said. “This is a major advantage when addressing algae-based bioactive compounds. Moreover, Yemoja’s photobioreactor technology possesses unique capabilities to simultaneously produce any desired microalgae species, of any required quantity, rendering it ideal for the unique needs of the research project.”