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P.E.I.’s Nautilus Bioscences sold to Croda International

Founder Russ Kerr says Nautilus has been acquired by Croda International, which will continue to operate the marine biotechnology company out of the University of Prince Edward Island. ©THE GUARDIAN - Berni Wood
Founder Russ Kerr says Nautilus has been acquired by Croda International, which will continue to operate the marine biotechnology company out of the University of Prince Edward Island. ©THE GUARDIAN - Berni Wood - Submitted

A drive for new opportunities

A P.E.I. marine biotechnology company that grew out of the labs at the University of Prince Edward Island has been acquired by an international specialty chemicals giant.

Croda International Plc, which creates, makes and sells specialty chemicals for some of the biggest, most successful brands in the world, has bought Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc. and associated patents.

Croda and Nautilus already have a history of collaboration, having worked together for the past six years developing specific applications for skin care and hair care, as well as crop care.

Nautilus was founded in 2007 by University of Prince Edward Island professor Russell Kerr. Croda intends to establish Nautilus as a Croda Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology at Nautilus’ existing base at UPEI.

“We have enjoyed a very positive and collaborative relationship with both Croda and the University of Prince Edward Island for a number of years and have always been impressed with Croda’s drive to develop the opportunities from marine biotechnology,” said Kerr.

“Becoming part of the Croda group will provide Nautilus the resources and support to establish a key centre for the research and development of marine-derived natural products, as well as providing Croda new products for commercial success.”

Steve Foots, chief executive of Croda, said this is another clear example of how sustainable innovation is underpinning its growth plans.

“With Nautilus as part of the Croda Group, we further expand our expertise in biotechnology. The Nautilus team that will join us have extensive knowledge and expertise in marine biotechnology, also known as blue biotechnology.”

Rory Francis, executive director of the P.E.I. BioAlliance, pointed out that this was another important success story for the P.E.I. Bioscience Cluster, building on the establishment of Natural Products Canada in 2016.

“Croda’s investment in Nautilus and Prince Edward Island is a great return on everyone’s commitment. It’s how a cluster works,” said Francis, noting the involvement of Kerr, vice-president Don Ridley and all the Nautilus team, as well as support from UPEI, ACOA, Innovation P.E.I. and the National Research Centre.

“The Croda Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology will be an outstanding addition to the P.E.I. cluster and Atlantic Canada’s expertise in ocean technologies, strengthening the Atlantic proposal for an oceans supercluster in the region,” he said.

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