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Commercialization Leading to Economic Development
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bioriginal Food & Science Corp.
FPTT Technology Transfer Award for the successful development, transfer and commercialization of a superior class of conjugated linoleic acid compounds with multiple uses and health benefits.
Sandy Bresciani, Goewen Demmon, Martin Reaney, Neil Westcott
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Sean Jones, Petros Loutas
Bioriginal Food & Science Corp.
With foresight, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and a market-savvy nutraceutical manufacturer from Saskatoon turned a simple research proposal in the mid-1990s into a multi-million-dollar line of health and nutritional products now sold around the world.
It took only a day of negotiations between AAFC and Bioriginal Food and Science Corp., a world leading supplier of essential fatty acids, to forge a partnership to develop a process to manufacture a superior class of a dietary supplement called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
A compound found naturally in plant extractives and in the meat and milk of grass-fed livestock, CLA in its synthetic form is widely considered to be a potent inhibitor of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease while promoting lean body mass at the expense of fat.
Over the next decade, the collaborative partnership blossomed as the thriving Canadian company's Saskatoon plant converted native oilseeds such as sunflower, flax and safflower into an evolving market line of 10 CLA brands, including an additive to bulk feed for animals that stimulates lean muscle growth. By 2005, Bioriginal CLA products commanded a 20-per-cent share of a world market worth an estimated $65 million.
The success of the venture at every level, from federal laboratory to the private sector to the commercial realm, is an illustration of technology transfer at its best.
With exceptional judgement and flexibility, the AAFC team ensured proper licensing agreements were in place to protect intellectual property without hampering commercial development at each progressive stage of the unique technology.
Increasing both the yield and quality of the compound, the jointly developed process at the same time reduced manufacturing costs and achieved conversion efficiencies that cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent.
With proper management of AAFC's patent portfolio, annual royalties are expected to match the initial federal research investment of $500,000 in a few years, based on expected annual wholesale revenues in the millions of dollars.
Smart & Biggar
Petros Loutas, Bioriginal Food & Science Corp.
Goewen Demmon, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada