Project Update June 2020
COVID-19 related delays
ZIVO Bioscience conducts a significant portion of its research at academic institutions and universities across the US. The COVID pandemic has forced the closure of most academic research departments, as well as partial or complete shutdown of private facilities. In Michigan, executive orders issued by the governor shut down all academic, public and private research laboratories for nearly 2 months, until a new order was issued allowing doors to open in the last week of May.
In December 2019, ZIVO announced the characterization of a novel non-starch polysaccharide complex (NSP) responsible for immune modulation in vitro. This tracked with earlier studies and confirmed the observed health benefits. In mid-December 2019, ZIVO principals filed for a US patent.
Since that time, other immune modulating properties have been documented, an extensive patent search was conducted, and applications for an additional 4 patents will be filed to protect various aspects of the NSP complex.
In March 2020, ZIVO principals sourced commercial scale-up of its novel NSP. However, the COVID pandemic halted all work at University of Georgia and University of Minnesota. ZIVO retained outside consultants to develop alternative sites, and a commercial scale-up contract was executed in early June 2020. The resulting samples will be provided to prospective licensees for evaluation purposes in advance of anticipated letters of intent or option agreements.
Bovine mastitis testing
Bovine mastitis testing in California concluded in November 2019. Due to a range of factors, both technical and financial, ZIVO researchers received the study results in late April 2020, including the histopathology and veterinarian reports. Results of the study will be announced in a press release slated for mid-June 2020. This is the first of three final validation experiments, which are now focused on the immune modulating complex.
Poultry gut health
Poultry gut health studies with algal biomass at AH Pharma were concluded in late 2019 and the final reports were received in Q1 2020. After data analysis and further investigation, the study results support and re-confirm the Company’s claims of improved feed conversion, gut health and resistance to common poultry pathogens. The findings will be presented to potential licensees.
NutriQuest poultry testing in Europe
ZIVO has been advised that a group of poultry producers based in the Czech Republic will be testing ZIVO biomass as a poultry feed ingredient. The European diet for poultry contains a significant amount of wheat, which apparently irritates the chickens’ intestinal tract. It is hoped that ZIVO algae, administered at very low, vitamin-like inclusion rates, may help curb the inflammation, which slows down weight gain.
This study was initially delayed by the producers in January 2020, and then delayed again due to COVID pandemic shutdown. A new schedule for Q3 2020 is anticipated.
Poultry GRAS - US
Compliance work to affirm Generally Recognized As Sage (GRAS) status for poultry feed in the US has been delayed due to lack of biomass that meets product specifications, driven by funding shortfalls in Q3/Q4 2019, and into 2020. The compliance process requires that contracted producers cultivate ZIVO biomass within the precise parameters developed by ZIVO, tendered to the GRAS scientific review panel, and do so at commercial scale and volume. It is hoped that this process can be back on track in Q2 2020. ZIVO currently produces biomass at research laboratory scale at both its Arizona State and Kona, Hawaii installations, but these installations produce insufficient volumes and methods for compliance work.
Algal biomass product development
Based on interest generated in the UK and EU for nutraceutical and cosmetic applications, ZIVO launched a modest product development program to determine whether the whole dried algal biomass held any promise as a functional skin health topical product. Preliminary tests indicate that incorporating ZIVO algal biomass into topical treatments can provide positive benefits. The Company is moving forward with PET safety testing to assure safe use as a topical skin care product.
Further, ZIVO still plans to engage with Grekin Laboratories to develop a “beauty from within” nutraceutical application incorporating ZIVO algal biomass in several product formulations. This initiative is delayed pending the availability of large volumes of dried algal biomass.
Outsourced algae production
ZIVO engaged with India-based contract growers over the course of 2019. It quickly became apparent that several of the growers lacked the technical and managerial skills necessary to adapt their facilities to producing ZIVO algae. ZIVO has re-focused its India program to work with two producers demonstrating the necessary attributes to meet quality and volume benchmarks.
In Peru, ZIVO has signed a letter of intent with agribusiness Grupo Alimenta, which currently operates a new algae production facility in Ica. A memorandum of understanding and a licensing agreement have been drafted and are in the process of negotiation.
In Mexico, ZIVO is in discussions to build an all-new facility to ZIVO specifications in the Aguascalientes region north of Mexico City, to be funded locally. Other discussions are underway with contract growers in Thailand, who may site an all-new facility in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Drying techniques for ZIVO algae
In June, ZIVO researchers are shipping frozen algal biomass to Napa Valley for refractive window drying, a technique involving a mylar conveyor belt, UV lighting and rapid heating/cooling cycle. To date, spray-drying has the preferred method because it creates a rich, colorful product in a light, powdery form. Vacuum or drum drying is much more energy efficient, even though following the process the rich green hue is missing. Refractive window drying holds the promise of energy efficiency, good color/smell and proper disinfecting of the raw algal biomass.