Lallemand Pharma

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Dive into the ocean to discover novel resources for medicine

Jul 4, 2019

As the rapid growth of the world population keeps putting a strain on existing resources for medicines, health companies are constantly looking for new resources to develop effective and safe medicines.

For centuries natural products have been used to develop medicines for the management or treatment of various diseases. The plant-derived compounds have a long history of clinical use, better patient tolerance and acceptance. In fact today, over 50% of marketed drugs are either extracted from natural sources or produced using natural product as template or starting material. [1]

The huge potential of marine natural products as source of new therapies

As 70% of the planet is covered by water, today one of the most promising source of health ingredients for the future could be oceans. Research into the pharmacology of marine organisms and micro-organisms is tough and still limited. Most of it still remains unexplored as the majority of these areas are still inaccessible to the researchers. However findings are encouraging: marine microorganisms provide a tremendous biodiversity offering a great promise as a source of pharmaceuticals for the future.[2]

The aquatic environment is a home for various exclusive microorganisms, which generate biologically active complexes called bioactives. Over  the  past  decade,  marine microbes  have been acknowledged  as  a  significant  and  untapped  source  for novel  bioactive  complexes  and  compounds.[3]

If genuinely explored the marine environment might potentially lead to breakthrough therapies. A growing number of compounds from marine sources are entering clinical trials and thus, the impact of this field on the pharmaceutical industry is increasing.[4]

Treatment discoveries from marine micro-organisms

Aquatic environments, especially oceans, are one of the most adverse. This is due to variations in temperature, pH, salinity, sea surface temperature, currents, precipitation regimes and wind patterns.  This also means that the microorganisms present in that environment are more properly tailored to these adverse conditions, hence, possessing complex characteristic features of adaptation.

The adaptation of marine organisms to a wide range of environmental conditions render them an enormous reservoir for biotechnological improvements. Marine microbes act as are potent source of various industrially important bioactive compounds including enzymes, exopolysaccharides (EPS), biosurfactants, antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer compounds etc.[5]

In particular, marine peptides have attracted a great deal of attention due to their potential effects in promoting health and reducing disease[6]. Over the last few decades significant efforts have been made, by both pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, to isolate and identify new marine-derived, natural products. Specific programs directed towards the collection and characterization of marine natural products and evaluation of their biological activity has been established.[7]

So far, only a small number of microorganisms have been investigated for their bioactive metabolites.;

Lallemand Pharma, a pioneer in this field, is currently working in this area and has several projects of research for respiratory and oral care applications; more especially some medical devices applications containing marine postbiotics: metabolites from marine microorganisms.


[1] Veeresham C. Natural products derived from plants as a source of drugs. J Adv Pharm Technol Res 2012; 3(4): 200–201. [PubMed]

[2] Wiese, Jutta & Imhoff, Johannes. Marine bacteria and fungi as promising source for new antibiotics. Drug Development Research. 2019 Feb;80(1):24-27. [PubMed]

[3] Javed, Faraza & Qadir, M & Janbaz, Khalid & Ali, Mazyoud. Novel drugs from marine microorganisms. Crit rev microb. 2011 Aug;37(3):245-9. [PubMed]

[4] Pravin Shinde,Paromita Banerjee & Anita Mandhare. Marine natural products as source of new drugs: a patent review. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2019 Apr;29(4):283-309. [PubMed]

[5] Jayadev, Ayona et al. Marine bacteria : a potential bioresource for multiple applications. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research. 6(9);2015. 2229-5518 [IJSER]

[6] Kang, H. K., Seo, C. H., & Park, Y. (2015). Marine peptides and their anti-infective activities. Marine drugs. 2015 Jan; 13(1): 618–654. [PubMed]

[7] Mousumi Debnath, A. K. Paul and P. S. Bisen, Natural Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnological Potential of Marine Bacteria. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2007 Oct;8(5):253-60. [PubMed]