Back 08.11.2022

Alpha Chitin and Novochizol, a promising biotechnological alliance!

The French company Alpha Chitin, producer of biosourced chitosans, and the biotech start-up Novochizol, located on the BioArk Monthey technology site, have just announced the creation of a joint venture to produce Novochizol™ and develop its applications, on an industrial scale. Novochizol™ is a "self-adhesive nanosponge" that absorbs active ingredients (drugs, phytosanitary products, etc.), allowing to prolong their effectiveness and reduce doses. The joint venture will be able to produce tens, then hundreds of tons of Novochizol™ of consistent quality. Good news for Novochizol, a company born in the Chablais region and supported by The Ark Foundation's Incubator!

The result of a Franco-Swiss alliance, the newly created company will conduct industrial research and development, certification, marketing and sales of Novochizol™ products. These will be produced under contract by Alpha Chitin, on the industrial platform of their newly built plant in Lacq (Aquitaine - France). The plant relies on Alpha Chitin's proprietary extraction and processing technologies, offering guaranteed batch-to-batch repeatability and full traceability. 

The partnership integrates large-scale rearing of insect larvae or fungi, extraction of chitin (from insect shells), manufacturing of chitosan (by modification of insect chitin or direct extraction from fungi) and its processing into Novochizol™.  The large production capacity opens a vast field of possibilities for the development of this innovative biotechnology!

Novochizol™: a nanosponge with great potential
The Novochizol™ technology can be likened to the use of a spherical self-adhesive nanosponge, the size of a virus and with multiple properties. Like construction sets, the spheres can interlock with each other and combine with other molecules, either of chemical origin (such as oral drugs) or biological (peptides, DNA, RNA, proteins).  Some formulations have a "delayed effect" (the nanosponges are filled with a substance that is released slowly), others are faster (the nanosponges act as an emulsifier, generating a sort of "mayonnaise").
At the heart of Novochizol™ technology is a very specific chemical transformation of chitosan.  Chitosan, a very long linear molecule made of sugar blocks, is "attacked" by a cross-linking agent that forces it to wrap around itself to form a "ball".

Standard chitosan is used in many industries, but it has several flaws. It is very chemically and physically fragile and extremely biodegradable, which limits its use. In addition, as a natural product, its properties vary from batch to batch. Its effects are therefore unpredictable, especially in agriculture.

Developing stable production: a crucial importance for Novochizol™ technology!
Usually, chitosan is produced from crustacean shells, various waste products from the fishing industry, which explains the variability of its characteristics.  Alpha Chitin has solved the problem by raising the starting organisms in bioreactors under controlled conditions. On the one hand, it is a specific mushroom mycelium and on the other hand, larvae of the black soldier fly, a "clean" fly. The other asset of Alpha Chitin is the implementation of original extraction and transformation processes, allowing to reach a high quality, a guaranteed repeatability from one batch to another and a complete traceability, while reducing costs.

With this reliability in production, Novochizol™ technology is taking off, with many applications in the pipeline, including agriculture, cosmetics and pharma.

Source: Novochizol press release 


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