The company, which at one time was named Solutions 4CO2, had its start in developing an algae production technology. More recently the company has licensed the extraction technology of krill oil supplier Neptune and has been working to apply it to extracting omega-3 oils from several species of cold water shrimp. The shrimp oils exhibit a phospholipid profile that is similar to krill and has similar bioavailability advantages, according to the company. BlueOcean recently brought a joint venture for the shrimp oil completely within house when it bought out for a nominal amount partner Quinlan Brothers, a fishing company that harvests cold water shrimp off of eastern Canada.
Joint venture shuffle
As a startup, BlueOcean has entered into several joint ventures and licensing deals to speed is development curve. Sometimes those agreements can benefit from modification along the way, and the company is sensitive to how it looks in industry when the news of the end of a joint venture leaks out. In the case of its extraction partner, Blue Ocean has acquired 100% of the joint venture assets of Pure Polar Labs from its owner CMAX Technologies.
Now new CEO Marvin Heuer MD (who also had an interest in the extraction deal) brings his product development savvy to the table to help the company get over the initial revenue hurdle. Heuer worked in product development for sports nutrition company MuscleTech and more recently has worked with Chinese company Bam Dion Biotech in bringing a bamboo-based antioxidant ingredient to market.
“The products have been on the market for about five or six months,” Heuer told NutraIngredients-USA. “We are just now getting the product into Whole Foods Market stores and GNC stores in Canada.”
“The shrimp oil (which is harvested off eastern Canada) is now being extracted at a plant we build in partnership with (Indian company) Indfrag in Vietnam,” Heuer said.
Heuer said the proceeds of a $2.5 million private venture that was completed in December will enable it to produce an upgraded Pure Polar product line with improved formulas and packaging of all three versions of the product — regular strength, double strength and extended release. In addition, the company plans two condition specific SKUs that build on the high astaxanthin content of the shrimp raw material. They are Sport AX and Joint AX.
Heuer takes over the CEO reins from predecessor Gavin Bogle. Heuer said rather than being forced out, Bogle was ready to move on to other challenges including his law practice, and said that Bogle was instrumental in refocusing the company from its initial target of algal growth platforms toward something it could actually sell in a reasonable time frame. Too many development stage companies get lost in a thicket of interesting and promising technologies that prove to take too long to bring to market, he said. The initial technology was a method of infusing carbon dioxide into the growth media for algae as a way to greatly boost production. The idea still has merit, Heuer said, but the potential payoff was too far into the future.
“Gavin had turned this company around. They had kind of lost their way on CO2,”Heuer said. “The shrimp oil products come from a sustainable harvest and it is a very pure source.”