Croda opens UPEI-based Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology


Nautilus Biosciences opens its expanded UPEI-based facility as Croda’s Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology

Croda International Plc, which creates, makes and sells innovative, sustainable, high performance speciality chemicals that are relied on by industries and consumers everywhere, last week celebrated the official opening of its Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology. The centre is based at PEI’s Nautilus Biosciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of Croda.

The ribbon-cutting event held at the Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island, included senior representatives from Croda, as well as the President of UPEI, Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, Provincial Minister of Health and Wellness, Robert Mitchell and members of PEI’s bioscience business and research community.

The acquisition of Nautilus in Q1 2018 and continued investment by Croda to establish the new Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology in PEI will accelerate the company’s research and product development programme to identify sustainable, natural sources of functional ingredients for a broad range of personal, health and crop care ingredients for its global customers.

“Croda is a company that values innovation and invests in new technologies to deliver value to our customers today and in the future,” said Sandra Breene, President, Personal Care, Croda International. “The acquisition of Nautilus is part of our journey to expand from being a manufacturer of speciality chemicals into an organisation that embraces biotechnology as the answer to many of our customers and the consumer needs for new actives in a truly sustainable way.”

The opening of the expanded Nautilus facility follows the investment by Croda in an automated high-throughput screening system that can dramatically increase the discovery of novel products derived from the marine microbe library. Currently Nautilus employs 12 scientists and technicians, including four PhD’s and four Holland College graduates.

Dr. Russ Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Marine Natural Products at UPEI, and founder of Nautilus Biosciences, has worked since 2007 to establish the Marine Microbial Library at UPEI, collecting marine samples from the oceans of Canada and around the world and developing techniques to assess their value as sources of sustainable chemistry. A six-year collaboration with Croda demonstrated to them the potential of marine natural products in providing new chemical entities.

Nautilus’s partnership with the University of Prince Edward Island and support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, National Research Council, and the Government of Prince Edward Island has been key to the company’s success.

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Nautilus has proven to be one of the successful spinouts from the University of Prince Edward Island, building the university’s reputation as a leading innovation centre in Atlantic Canada. Nautilus has exclusive access to the Marine Microbial Library which is based at the University.