Cash infusion keeps algae firm Zivo Bioscience afloat during development voyage

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images Galeaneu Milhai
©Getty Images Galeaneu Milhai

Related tags Algae

Algae product developer Zivo Bioscience Inc said its successful capital raise will allow it to finally achieve market scale for its algae-derived ingredients, well over a decade after beginning the development process.

Cash infusion keeps algae firm Zivo Bioscience afloat during development voyage

Current CEO Andrew Dahl was brought on to lead the effort in 2012.  Since then the company has shuffled along with limited funding and significant debt burden. In 2017 Dahl told NutraIngredients-USA​ that the market entry finish line was in sight​, but as so often has happened in the algae ingredient development space, that goal continued to recede into the distance.

In a letter to investors released yesterday, Dahl said the company is finally in a position to make good on the promise of its ingredients.  From its inception, Zivo (first known as Health Enhancement Products, Inc. or HEPI) has pursued a strategy as an intellectual property holder, leaving the production of the ingredients to partners.  The company was an outgrowth of the Arizona Center for Algae Technology & Innovation (AzCATI), which itself is a spinoff of Arizona State University.

“2021 has turned into a watershed moment in the Company’s history and future outlook. After years of stopgap funding and on-off R&D, we find ourselves in the strongest financial position ever and a portfolio of products with great promise and prospects,”​ Dahl said in the letter.

Successful stock sale

In early June the company completed a successful sale of new shares and an ‘up listing’ to the NASDAQ stock exchange that netted more than $12 million in new capital for the company.  From a low point at the end of 2020 when Zivo had only $137,000 of cash on hand, by June 30 of this year the company reported having almost $11 million in the drawer.

The company has pursued two parallel development strategies.  One is an algae-based ingredient for poultry gut health.  Dahl claimed in the letter that this ingredient has now been used in 18 field trials with various poultry producers, though more development work on the production side still needs to be done.  The company also has plans for ingredients aimed at pigs and cattle.

And in the human health arena, Dahl said Zivo is working on refining market scale production techniques for an algal fermentate containing what he called the company’s “biologically active molecular complex.”  ​This is being tested as an ‘immunomodulator.’  Progress has been made toward commercial scale on this ingredient, Dahl said.

“The initial fermentate manufacturing development work was largely concluded by the end of June 2021 while the purification process is still being refined and validated. Notably, production of the fermentate has been ramped up to 500+ liter scale in bioreactors,”​ Dahl said.

Even with the currently sunny funding outlook, the company seems to have some work to do to convince stock traders.  Since debuting on the NASDAQ exchange, Zivo’s stock price has declined from $4.21 to $3.09.

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