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Nautilus Biosciences officially opens its expanded UPEI-based facility as Croda’s Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology


PEI’s Nautilus Biosciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of Croda International Plc (“Croda”), celebrated its official opening today as the new Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology.

The ribbon-cutting event held at the Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island, included senior representatives from Croda, as well as the President of UPEI, Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, Provincial Minister of Health and Wellness, Robert Mitchell, and members of PEI’s bioscience business and research community.

The acquisition of Nautilus in Q1 2018 and continued investment by Croda to establish the new Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology in PEI will accelerate the company’s research and product development program to identify sustainable, natural sources of functional ingredients for a broad range of personal, health and crop care ingredients for its global customers.

“Croda is a company that values innovation and invests in new technologies to deliver value to our customers today and in the future,” said Sandra Breene, President, Personal Care, Croda International. “The acquisition of Nautilus is part of our journey to expand from being a manufacturer of speciality chemicals into an organisation that embraces biotechnology as the answer to many of our customers and the consumer needs for new actives in a truly sustainable way.”

The opening of the expanded Nautilus facility follows the investment by Croda in an automated high-throughput screening system that can dramatically increase the discovery of novel products derived from the marine microbe library. Currently Nautilus employs 12 scientists and technicians, including 4 PhD’s and 4 Holland College graduates.

Dr. Russ Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Marine Natural Products at UPEI, and founder of Nautilus Biosciences, has worked since 2007 to establish the Marine Microbial Library at UPEI, collecting marine samples from the oceans of Canada and around the world and developing techniques to assess their value as sources of sustainable chemistry. A six-year collaboration with Croda demonstrated to them the potential of marine natural products in providing new chemical entities.

“This is an exciting day for us,” said Dr. Russ Kerr, Research Fellow, Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc., part of the Croda group of Companies. “We’ve been very fortunate to build on a relationship with a multinational speciality chemical company that values growth through sustainable innovation –enhancing our ability to discover even more marine microbes as a potential source of commercial ingredients. We are very proud to be opening this Centre of Innovation in Marine Biotechnology in Prince Edward Island.”

Nautilus’s partnership with the University of Prince Edward Island, and support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, National Research Council, and the Government of Prince Edward Island has been key to the company’s success.

Nautilus has proven to be one of the successful spinouts from the University of Prince Edward Island, building the university’s reputation as a leading innovation centre in Atlantic Canada. Nautilus has exclusive access to the Marine Microbial Library which is based at the University.

“To see Dr. Kerr take a great idea, collaborate with other faculty and our students, and develop this idea into an entrepreneurial opportunity like Nautilus Biosciences is so wonderful, and what the University is here to support,” said Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island. “Through the hard work of many in our UPEI community — faculty, staff, and students — this partnership between Nautilus Biosciences and Croda has become reality. Many thanks to Croda for choosing our campus and Nautilus Biosciences as the location for its Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology.”

The Nautilus Biosciences Croda Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology is an outstanding addition to the PEI Bioscience Cluster and further expands Atlantic Canada’s expertise in ocean technologies. The R&D capabilities and infrastructure that Nautilus Biosciences has established through Croda’s support and investments are also a magnet attracting other businesses to the PEI Bioscience Cluster.

“Croda’s investment in Nautilus is a testament to the quality of the innovation ecosystem in PEI. Our business, research, and government partners work together to help academics and early stage companies commercialize their technologies and attract new investment,” said Rory Francis, Executive Director of the PEI BioAlliance. “This is how we continue to grow this sector and increase its contribution to our provincial economy.”


About Croda

Established in 1925, Croda is the name behind high performance ingredients and technologies in some of the world’s biggest and most successful brands: creating, making and selling speciality chemicals that are relied on by industries and consumers everywhere.

Croda has a network of over 4,200 passionate and committed employees, working together as one global team across manufacturing sites and offices in 36 countries. Croda Personal Care is dedicated to working with its customers to meet evolving consumer needs, whilst maintaining its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility through initiatives that include the use of certified sustainable palm oil and other renewable raw materials.

The company’s expertise in formulation development, claims substantiation, market analysis and regulatory support provides customers immediate access to essential services for successful product development. As a global business, Croda Personal Care offers a wide and diverse product portfolio including a full line of natural, botanical ingredients from its Crodarom division and a full range of skin care actives from its Sederma division.

About Nautilus Biosciences Croda

Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc. is a technology-rich marine biotechnology company based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Founded in 2007 by Dr. Russell Kerr, Nautilus focuses on using marine microbial biodiversity to discover novel actives and materials.

Croda recently acquired Nautilus – having worked closely together for the past six years developing specific applications for skin care and hair care, as well as crop care. Croda has established Nautilus Biosciences as Croda’s Global Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology at Nautilus’ existing base at the University of Prince Edward Island. Nautilus Biosciences has exclusive global access to the Marine Microbial Library which is based at the University of Prince Edward Island.

About Prince Edward Island BioAlliance

The Prince Edward Island BioAlliance is the private sector-led partnership of businesses, research and academic institutions, and government agencies dedicated to building the province’s bioscience sector. Through a unique and successful cluster model, we have established the enabling conditions for business success.

Our focus is the research, development and commercialisation of bioactive-based products for human, animal, and fish health and nutrition. The Cluster includes over 50 bioscience companies and eight research institutions. Private sector revenues exceed $200 million, and the PEI bioscience sector employs 1700 people. Revenue sources include human, animal, and fish health and nutrition products including cosmetic ingredients, natural health products, feed additives, vaccines, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals.

The BioAlliance is home to Emergence, Canada’s virtual bioscience business incubator, that provides mentorship and business development services to companies from across Canada and beyond. The PEI Bioscience Cluster is also home to Natural Products Canada, North America’s first business accelerator dedicated to the commercialisation of products and technologies based on natural product chemistry.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Russ Kerr, Research Fellow, Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc.,

part of the Croda Group of Companies

Phone: (902) 566-0565


Rose FitzPatrick, PEI BioAlliance

Phone: (902) 367- 4403

Mobile: (902) 393-0306



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