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While demand for H. pluvialis microalgae astaxanthin has been exhibiting significant growth, the supply situation has remained highly restricted in the global astaxanthin market, despite best efforts put in by existing suppliers for increasing capacities. This has resulted in opening the doors for new players to make a foray into this lucrative market. For instance, the year 2014 witnessed China-based Beijing Gingko Group Biotechnology Co Ltd (BGG) inaugurating a 150-acre Haematococcus pluvialis production base in Shilin County, making the facility the largest in Asia-Pacific, with an annual H. pluvialis algae freeze-dried powder production capacity of 100 tons. The company has also disclosed intentions for further increasing this capacity to 300 tons per year over the coming years. In addition to BGG, several Chinese companies have been engaged in producing and distributing astaxanthin products on a global basis, prominent among them being Fenchem Biotek Ltd, Innobio Ltd, Shandong WeFirst and Jingzhou Natural Astaxanthin Inc.

Last year, Heliae Development LLC entered into a joint venture agreement with Japan-based Sincere Corp for developing a commercial algae production facility in Saga City, Japan. This facility would be dedicated in the production of astaxanthin derived from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae that would be supplied to meet the growing Japanese astaxanthin demand. The plant’s construction is set to commence in 2015, with scheduled completion and production anticipated in 2016.

Malaysia-based Algaetech International Sdn Bhd has also expressed intentions of building a facility to cultivate Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae for producing astaxanthin. This first of its kind ASEAN facility would be based in Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), with its production output being targeted for the United States and New Zealand astaxanthin markets. Upon completion, the facility would have a monthly algae biomass production of 3.5 tons. Algaetech has also planned to invest in a similar facility in Brunei that is likely to begin construction in early 2015 and enable in doubling production capacity to 7 tons upon completion towards the end of 2015.

Pharmachem Laboratories’ Avoca Inc division and Synthetic Genomics, Inc entered into a supply agreement for the extraction and commercialization of natural astaxanthin from a strain of algae developed by the latter. The multi-year supply agreement also offers Avoca the exclusive rights for distributing the developed products in North America. Synthetic Genomics’ Genovia Bio business unit has been engaged in developing this product. Meanwhile, several companies investing in algae for producing biofuels have realized that the real money lies in astaxanthin, which has necessitated a shift in their focus towards this lucrative prospect. Potential new entrants in the algae astaxanthin market have been listed in the table below.

Table: New Entrants in the H. pluvialis Astaxanthin Sector

Company Country
Algae Health (Slainte Alga Teoranta) Ireland
Algae to Omega Holdings Inc. United States
Algaetech International Sdn Bhd Malaysia
ALGALO Industries Company Ltd. Israel
Andexs Biotechnology SRL Peru
Astaxa GmbH Germany
Avoca, Inc. United States
Synthetic Genomics Inc. United States
Garden State bioEnterprises, LLC (GS bioE) United States
Guangdong Hairong Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd China
Heliae Development LLC and SINCERE Corporation Japan
Maui Tropical Algae Farm, LLC (MTAF) United States
MBD Energy Limited Australia
MicroA AS Norway
Tianjin Norland Biotech Co. Ltd China

Despite the enhancement of algae astaxanthin capacities by several players, supply remains tight, the primary reasons for the same being the highly challenging process of cultivating H. pluvialis algae and inconsistencies in biomass yields and astaxanthin content. These persistent supply issues in the algae astaxanthin market have offered an opening to synthetic astaxanthin producers for entering the human neutraceutical sector. DSM, the largest producer of synthetic astaxanthin, is now marketing its “nature-identical” AstaSana astaxanthin product for human nutraceuticals, utilizing its animal feed product, a racemic mixture of astaxanthin isomers, without additional regulatory notification or approval. In addition, Valensa has unveiled its ZanthinNEX offering for human health applications, which constitutes a single isomer synthetic astaxanthin product synthesized from beta-carotene. BASF, one of the leading players in synthetic astaxanthin, has collaborated with Cardax Inc for developing the latter’s ASTX-1 astaxanthin product, which is synthetically manufactured in the geometric (trans) and optical (S , S’) isomeric form and is similar in geometric and optical isomeric form to astaxanthin obtained from microalgae.

Algatech, Cyanotech and Fuji are the three leading astaxanthin producers have combined forces and established the Natural Astaxanthin Association (NAXA) for the purpose of imparting awareness in regard to the differences between the natural and synthetic forms of astaxanthin. Producers of natural astaxanthin aver that the evidence of benefits offered by this form of the antioxidant stems from its use in human studies, with safety claims of their ingredients being substantiated through New Dietary Ingredient notifications. DSM, for its part, maintains that the safety of its ingredient has been proven via a food additive petition, which the company claims to hold a higher level of safety compared to an NDI submission. The entry of these major synthetic astaxanthin producers is certain to create an atmosphere of intensifying competition in the global astaxanthin market, more so in the human neutraceutical industry.

The primary process of sourcing astaxanthin destined for human neutraceutical applications is achieved by the cultivation of the Haematococcus pluvialis algae species that can be grown in a number of ways, be it in open ponds of closed photo-bioreactors. However, this organism does not lend itself easily for cultivation and ramping up capabilities is a time-consuming proposition. With manufacturers of microalgae being confronted with supply issues, the time is ripe for synthetic manufacturers to enhance output of synthetic astaxanthin since demand for their products shows no signs of letting up.

As a consequence of a marked shift towards healthy eating habits and growing consumer awareness regarding content of food, market growth is more tilted in favor of natural astaxanthin. Despite this scenario, the comparatively lower cost of synthetic astaxanthin implies that a steady demand for this form will continue in the future.

Industry Experts has unveiled the new market research report on Astaxanthin. The new global report ‘Global Astaxanthin Market – Sources, Technologies and Applications’ reveals that the market for Astaxanthin is projected to touch US$1.1 billion by 2020 equated to 670 metric tons from an estimated US$447 million in 2014.

For more detials please visit: http://industry-experts.com/verticals/healthcare-and-pharma/global-astaxanthin-market-sources-technologies-and-applications

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