1. What is the most important experience you have had in the process of taking the idea to the market?
Firstly, it is imperative to understand the markets you want to approach, and the utility for the customer eventually buying your product. You may think that you have something very interesting between your hands from a technical perspective, but that does not do you any good unless you can describe the right positioning of the product and convey that message right. In the end of the day, repeated product sales to satisfied customers is what makes a company sustain.
Secondly, develop an IPR-strategy before you start spending money elsewhere, which should begin by understanding the state-of-the art not only in the scientific literature but also in the patent databases. There is no such waste as “reinventing the wheel”. Make sure that the issue of IPR is covered in any agreement with partners and protect your interest with patent applications and trademark registrations as merited by the technology or product being developed.
In Calanus AS, we have developed two products which we were lucky enough to start selling very early. Calanus® Oil provides biomedical and clinical effects beyond conventional omega-3 products and differentiates from the existing competition within the rapidly growing omega-3 category. Calanus® Hydrolysate is performing very well as “Nature’s own starter feed” for aquatic animals and as a palatability enhancer in pet-food. As you may appreciate both products are covered by patent applications. Otherwise we could not justify the major investment we have done to develop the products. And there is more to come from Calanus AS going forward!
2. Why is the Tromsø region an excellent location for marine biotech startups/companies?
Tromsø is the “Gateway to the Arctic” and the largest fishing port in Europe. In addition, the city is host to a major research community. This provides companies domiciled here an easy access to the cold waters of the Norwegian Sea and adjacent oceans, as well as access to available research infrastructure and competencies both for marine exploration, on-shore research and product development. Being a hub for global marketing of seafood, Tromsø is also a place where you will find sales and marketing minded people.
Last but not least, the living conditions in Tromsø are excellent – with friendly people and all services and offers you might demand from a modern city. Moreover, this region has fantastic natural surroundings suitable for all sorts of land- or sea-based sporting activities year around.
3. Why is it important to be a member in BioTech North?
We believe that Calanus AS will benefit by sharing information and collaborating with other member companies in all aspects of our value chain or supportive functions. By sharing, we certainly get a lot back from competent people not employed by us! If a member company succeeds, it will benefit all the members of BioTech North and the community at large.
4. What are your ambitions for the future?
Calanus finmarchicus is the most numerous animal species on the planet, and the largest renewable and harvestable resource in the Norwegian Sea. Keep in mind that the potential for sustainable output exceeds the volume of all fish species harvested by Norway today. The Directorate of Fisheries has developed a proposal for a management plan for the resource which opens for large scale commercial harvesting. Calanus AS is spearheading the commercial development of a new industrial value-chain based on this resource. My ambition is to help bringing Calanus AS from the pilot stage through full industrialization, while maintain profitability. With the growing demand for marine oils and marine proteins, there is no doubt in my mind that Calanus® Oil and Calanus® Hydrolysate have “blockbuster” potential. And what more do you need?