British private equity firm Grovepoint Capital has acquired control of biotechnology company Algatechnologies Ltd. at a value of $50 million. Founded by Kibbutz Ketura in 1998, Algatechnologies commercially cultivates the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis to supply a powerful antioxidant - astaxanthin.
Algatechnologies was founded on the basis of research by Prof. Sammy Boussiba at Ben Gurion University of the Negev Landau Family Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory, and the company is run by chairman Ed Hofland and CEO Hagay Tzur. The company's shareholders are Kibbutz Ketura and the Jewish Colonization Association.
Algatechnologies' main product, AstaPure, is an antioxidant sold as a nutritional supplement and component in cosmetic formulas. Studies have found that antioxidants help prevent damage to cells in the skin, brain, and other organs. To date, no pharmaceuticals have been developed directly from antioxidants, nor have they undergone controlled large clinical trials, like the studies conducted on pharmaceuticals. Nonetheless, many academic studies report a link between antioxidants and general health.
Algatechnologies does not sell AstaPure directly to consumers, but to manufacturers which use it in their products. The company declines to disclose its sales, but market sources estimate them at tens of millions of dollars.
Grovepoint partner Brad Fried told "Globes", "The product can be produced because of the Arava's climatic conditions. That is why we will keep development and production in Israel even as we expand the company's international distribution network."
Grovepoint Israel partner Hagai Stadler told "Globes", "We will expand Algatechnologies' production in the Arava and its international marketing network, and build another plant for the production of more microalgae-based biological substances."
Stadler added, "Algatech is one of the most interesting companies in Israel. Very few companies in the world have succeeded in growing microalgae, especially microalgae that produce substances with global demand at commercial quantities and prices."
Grovepoint was founded two years ago with institutional and private funding. The firm is co-managed by Bradley Fried and Leon Blitz. Grovepoint Israel, founded a year ago and managed by Hagai Stadler and Gil Meirovbich, is now being officially launched. Grovepoint Israel is focused on technologies and solutions in the fields of agriculture, food , water, energy and cleantech. This is Grovepoint's first major investment in Israel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 10, 2013
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