Microphyt’s SMILE project receives further support from the European Commission

Published: 5-Sep-2016

Unique compositions extracted from selected microalgae are to be used to aid weight loss and support the maintenance of cognitive function

Summer  2016  marks  a  new  stage  in  the  history  of  Microphyt,  a  dynamic  company  specialising in microalgae biotechnology.

The company has been chosen by the European  Commission’s  Horizon  2020  programme  to  benefit  from  Phase 2  funding  under its ‘SME Instrument’, a funding tool that seeks to promote innovation by helping to nurture highly  promising  projects that  address issues of current social concern.


Microphyt’s SMILE project is one of the 47 successful candidates chosen from the 553 applications drawn from across 14 countries. SMILE was the only winner in the ‘Blue Growth’ category among the applications filed by February 2016.

The SMILE project aims to develop, produce and commercialise natural marine-derived nutraceutical active ingredients,extracted from selected microalgae that will help bring about weight loss and support the maintenance of cognitive function.

SMILE is scheduled to run for 24 months and has a total budget of €2.5 million. The  European  Commission will provide 70% of the funding, via a grant of up to €1.8 million.

'The  European  Commission’s  support is an extremely positive signal. As well as validating our strategy of developing natural ingredients from microalgae, it will enable us to accelerate the commercialisation of the resulting products,' enthuses Vincent Usache, Microphyt’s CEO.

The company had already benefited in 2015 from €50,000 of support through Phase 1 of the same EU Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. This had enabled a thorough evaluation of the  project’s objective and feasibility. The  results of this  evaluation proved to be very promising: it uncovered a range of studies that point to the beneficial health effects of the naturally occurring active molecules that the SMILE project is working on – namely unique compositions of xanthophylls  and long-­chain polyunsaturated fatty  acids (omega-­3s) – both with regard to weight loss and the maintenance of cognitive function, each of which is at the heart current concerns in public health.

With the help of Phase 2 funding under the EU’s SME Instrument, the initial studies will be  followed-­up  by  in  vitro,  preclinical  and  clinical  studies. Microphyt will also now undertake the preparations for the prospective commercialisation of a range of SMILE ingredients:  regulatory  compliance  in  Europe  and  the  United  States, and developing nutraceutical formulas and establishing specifications for industrial processing.

A market launch is planned for late 2018. 'By 2022, we expect the SMILE range to account for up to 80% of Microphyt’s sales and enable us to double the number of employees,' said Vincent Usache.

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