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.