Reaping the benefits

Why Hofseth Biocare is the only company reaping the benefits of a leading-edge process for producing high-end health products

Pipett01

The Norwegian biomarine company Hofseth Biocare has developed a fast-track and highly reliable method for producing high-end health products. So why is no one else operating in this space?

To answer that question, you need to understand the parameters required for the research involved in this highly specialised yet conceptually simple process. And how Hofseth Biocare has successfully exploited a unique advantage (a highly preserved raw material) and a powerful new discovery (the potential of peptides as a resource).

Firstly, Hofseth Biocare is in the enviable position of having access to the purest of natural raw materials: Atlantic salmon. The salmon is farmed in the pristine, ice-cold waters of Norway’s fjords and processed within hours of harvesting. This means that the same process will consistently produce the same compounds used for testing, which is a critical requirement for developing wholly reliable high-end products. Conversely, processing raw materials obtained from plants or from wild marine or land animal sources would likely prove unsuccessful due to the variable effects of multiple seasonal, geographical and other changes.

The second key aspect of Hofseth Biocare’s approach that differs significantly from conventional methods is its focus on peptides as a resource. In the most basic sense, peptides are the building blocks that make up proteins. These molecules perform specific functions that maintain the body’s physiological mechanisms, such as increasing or decreasing the production of certain proteins or regulating gene function. Until recently, it was thought that peptides were destroyed in the gut of an animal or human being.

But we now know that this is not true. A growing body of research shows that intact peptides can be absorbed from the human gut and are part and parcel of how the body works. This means that not only do natural peptides offer the benefits of much lower toxicity, high specificity (meaning fewer side-effects to deal with) and higher absorption compared with synthetic chemicals, they are also beneficial as lead structures.

The starting point in the search for new therapies, a lead structure is a substance that has already been found to have a desirable biological effect but some of its characteristics still need to be optimised before it can be used for therapeutic purposes. Therapeutic peptides also have several advantages over proteins and antibodies that make them good leads: they are small in size, can be rapidly synthesised (meaning developed into a product through the combination of two or more atoms or molecules), are easy to modify, and have the ability to penetrate cell membranes.

The combination of these two aspects – the highly preserved raw material source and the fact that peptides are a very good lead – is a new concept, and Hofseth Biocare has been at the forefront of this work.

Hofseth Biocare’s extreme control of the enzyme activity and hydrolysis process used to break down chemicals with water on a commercial scale is unparalleled. Few other companies have comparable access to highly preserved raw materials. Nor have they recognised and invested in the potential of peptides to the extent that Hofseth Biocare has. Some companies may claim similar successes in a lab setting in the future, but Hofseth Biocare has succeeded in commercialising the concept five to ten years ahead of everyone else.