Artennua was originated in Spain in July 2018 but since 2015, our CEO Dr Luis Matías Hernández, has been developing different approaches to optimize medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), starting with Artemisia annua. His project participation and work with the R&D department of the biotech company of Barcelona, Sequentia Biotech,  led to promising results in the lab. A pilot field study financed by CDTI (Government of Spain) made possible to validate the outcomes on the field. That’s how we started the production of a special Artemisia annua, named Artennua. Since then we have been focusing on how to potentiate benefits, productivity and applications of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) to maximize and intensify their properties stimulating plants’ trichomes. Our history is the result of a dream meeting a good mix of science, private entrepreneurship, public funding and a dynamic start-up ecosystem.

Our headquarters are located in Barcelona (Spain) MediaTic building, in the core of 22@ innovation district in Poble Nou . We are ubicated at the second floor in the Barcelona Activa’s incubator space hosting technological start-ups.

Our production facility is ubicated in the Northern area of Tenerife Island (Canary Islands), in the El Pico farm, in Tejina, province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Timeline

Artennua Timeline

Lab R&D Phase: 2012-2017

Our travel into trichomes started with Luis Matias Hernandez and his post-doc at Dr. Soraya Pelaz group in the Centre for Research in AgriGenomics, CRAG (2012-2014). His research was on trichome formation in different plants and their possible applications. In 2015, together with Sequentia Biotech funders, he received a Torres Quevedo grant by MINECO (Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Government of Spain) with the aim of trying to optimize medicinal plants using different biotechnology techniques.

After three years trying different methods, laboratory and controlled-greenhouse experiments finally gave very positive results. Luis was able to produce twice the artemisinin concentration in Artemisia annua leaves, as well as increasing the foliar or ‘leaf” biomass three times, all in all increasing the production of artemisinin six-fold. At the same time, he was able to accelerate the growth of Artemisia annua to just over 2 months instead of its usual 8 months, meaning that the production was increased from 3 to 5 times annually.

Based on these results, in 2016 we applied for and won the prestigious Neotec grant by CDTI (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology from Spanish Government), which co-financed together with Sequentia Biotech the pilot production of our optimized Artemisia annua in the field through to the development of the final product prototype of Artennua. By the end of 2018 Biotech Tricopharming Research has been created and thanks to a tech-transfer agreement with Sequentia Biotech can continue MAPs (Medicinal and Aromatics Plants) R&D and commercializes Artennua®and its portfolio products.

Pilot production of artemisia annua plants

Pilot Production Phase: 2017-2018

We had a Prototype-Product stage of Artennua, carrying out pilot production of the optimized plant in the field.

Our research revealed Tenerife as an optimal location to use our technology and cultivate Artennua. In 2017, we established a collaboration with the Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias (ICIA) to start pilot production tests in two different microclimates of the island. In May, we began pilot production of the optimized cultivate over 1 hectare of the most appropriate microclimate.

In summer 2017 we had the first Artennua harvests and at the end of that year the final product in the form of dry, lyophilized leaves. We also started scouting other potential formats of interest.

Initial Distribution: 2018-2019

Our 1-hectare agrofarm is situated in the north of the island of Tenerife, in Pico, Tejina, an ideal location for starting our small-scale production. For 3 months, starting June 2018, the farm has had to be renovated and prepared to meet current standards and develop the required infrastructure for the cultivation, harvest, post-harvest and transformation to product of Artennua. The different analyses to assess product quality have been subcontracted to the SEGAI, which provides research support to Universidad de la Laguna. The first beta tests are currently taking place by different European companies from the nutraceutical, animal health and natural cosmetics sectors.

Artennua product sample