Rothamsted Research (RES), one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world, has generated transgenic Camelina lines which accumulate omega-3 fatty acids. These plant lines represent a significant breakthrough in attempts to make so called “fish oil” in plants. The market for Omega-3 oils is growing significantly driven by increasing demands from aquaculture and the specialist ingredients market. Securing sustainable supplies of crude fish oil from marine sources has been a growing problem over the past decade.
RES successfully applied for BBSRC Pathfinder funding to investigate the market and commercialisation opportunities presented by this breakthrough. IP Pragmatics was recruited to quantify the market opportunity for RES’ technology. The main objectives of this work were:
- Understand the overall value proposition for the RES omega-3 technology and its market fit,
- Gain a better understanding of the patent landscape in which the technology exists,
- Scope out a route to generate the proof of concept data that industry will expect before it will commit to partnering or a licence.
IP Pragmatics analysed the patent landscape for the broad agbiotechnology sector and the more niche fatty acid expression platform sector. This allowed us to assess RES’ intellectual property (IP) position and identify a strategy to further substantiate and maximise RES’ IP value.
Following on from the IP analysis, we carried out a market assessment which included the size of the omega-3 fish oils market, competing approaches, potential commercialisation partners, routes to market, and the advantages and restrictions of a transgenic approach.
Based on the IP and market analysis we identified the necessary development requirements and generated a commercialisation roadmap. Basic valuation models were also included.
Finally, we assisted with the development and writing of an application for a BBSRC Follow-on Fund project that would allow RES to undertake the development work needed.
Using IPP’s Pathfinder report and support, RES was able to secure Follow-on Funding and subsequently has obtained permission from DEFRA to carry out field trials in order to bulk up material for direct testing.
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