8th BioMarine International Business Convention
1-3 oct 2017, Rimouski Qc, Canada View Location

Aug 29

Interview Helena Vieira, CEO Bioalvo Portugal

What is BIOALVO?

Bioalvo, the Biotech for Natural Products, is a Portuguese start-up company with a privileged access to the biggest continental platform in Europe – Portugal’s.

Bioalvo develops fully integrated biotech solutions to maximize natural products market applications in areas as diverse as cosmetics, household products, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals or even industrial.

Bioalvo holds unique and proprietary microorganisms natural extracts collections form the unique Portuguese deep Ocean (PharmaBUG, LUSOMAREXTRACT) and Land (LUSOEXTRACT) ecosystems and couples these assets with its unique and patented discovery technology GPS D2, its extensive assay development and HTS robotics capacity as well as production and full development capacities in house, providing its partners with a one-stop-shop solution for their innovation in natural product development. By using Bioalvo’s organization as a fully integrated or modular partner in the different stages of a novel ingredient development our partners are bringing a natural product solution closer and quicker to market. In the last year Bioalvo has identified and is developing novel and innovative ingredients such as a new marine botox-like ingredients with topical action for pharmaceutical and cosmetical applications, novel marine natural anti-UV protectors for cosmetic and textile applications and novel marine neuroprotective and anti-inflammatories compounds with tremendous potential for several other applications. Mostly, at Bioalvo we thrive to find sustainable and natural solutions in the Portuguese ocean and ecosystems to solve current society problems, making everyone’s life healthier, better and more natural. In 2011 the company was awarded the highest national prize for biodiversity and sustainability (BES BIODIVERSIDADE 2011) and was ranked at the TOP 6 best companies in Europe’s Most Innovative Biotech SME Award 2011.


You have a unique business model, could you elaborate on your development strategy?

“It’s not the strongest or the fittest that survive but the most adaptable”(Charles Darwin). In a world were society is evermore demanding and conscious and where the biotech innovation model is under strain on multiple fronts this conclusion by Charles Darwin couldn’t be more appropriate to what BIOALVO has done. Portugal has always been connected to the sea by geographical and historical reasons, but is not yet a major player in the biotech arena. In recent years the ocean has been in the spotlight as a key source of untapped bioactives, derived both from marine macro and microorganisms. However, a sustainable and profitable screening and production of innovative bioactives is essential for the success in incorporating these ingredients into a marketed product and ensuring a sales stream. BIOALVO has become a strong player in this market, offering to its pharmaceutical, cosmetics, household or nutraceutical partners an unprecedented access to one of the world’s richest sources of bioactives: The Portuguese continental shelf and the Mid-Atlantic Rift off Portugal’s Azores islands.

BIOALVO, the Biotech for Natural Products, has an innovative perspective on how biotechnology and the sea together can in fact improve and fasten the development of new solutions that matter to our customers in their everyday routines, being in their personal, food, house or healthcare habits. BIOALVO acts as an all-in-one solution provider, developing its own ingredients but also making available to partners its unique and exquisite sources of new bioactives and its extensive assay development expertise applied to a miniaturized robotic scale for quick and reliable testing, alongside with its fully integrated  capacity to deliver a novel ingredient, becoming a unique fit for a one stop shop in new natural product development. On the other hand, with expertise acquired as a pharmaceutical drug discovery company, BIOALVO is quickly becoming a major player in the natural products market by developing its own pioneering products. This combined system allows BIOALVO to capture value from its assets, focusing on what we do best (microbiology and bioactive discovery) and relying on our partner’s expertise and their networks in specific markets while gaining the possibility to be present in an array of industries.

This mixed and creative business model approach generates mainstream cashflow to sustain a part of our operations and enhances the value of the company to new investors while providing credibility for further R&D projects that lead to new innovations. Additionally, the profile raised by this singular approach has lead to immense media coverage and to the approval of two significant research grants that will allow the expansion of our natural library to over 100.000 extracts, making it an extremely comprehensive natural extract collection, one of the biggest marine-origin natural extract collections in the world. BIOALVO has attracted a big wave of interest from other companies that operate in a variety of industries, from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics, from foods to detergents. Additionally, BIOALVO’s value has also continuously been recognized by its peers, with several invitations to integrate international and European level excellence R&D consortia and has, just in the past month, culminated with the award of 2 large-scale project grants under the FP7 framework. This wave of interest has already materialized in business partnerships, mainly in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries, with both national and international companies, which increasingly contribute to BIOALVO’s sales, accounting already for over 50% of BIOALVO’s revenues. The sudden rise in our revenues just two years after starting to operate in this business model demonstrates how effective it can be and the potential our chosen approach holds.


We see a lot of interest and growing activity in the sector of marine microorganisms.
Do you think there is room for new comers?

This is a sector where there is still so much to be developed and discovered, and therefore there is room (and actually the need!) for many players. New markets cannot develop without dynamics, competition and coopetition or if only a couple of players are acting on it. So the more new players will work on marine bacteria, the more this sector is likely to to take off and deliver real useful innovative solutions!


What kind of partnerships are you looking for at BioMarine London 2012?

BIOALVO will be participating in 2 think-thanks, on the women debate and will also make a company presentation and will be available for one-2-one meetings so, we are eager to meet potential partners at the convention and explore mutually beneficial new projects. Come and visit us in BIOMARINE BUSINESS CONVENTION 2012 in London and find out our latest developments and contributions to a better world!