ORF Genetics opens geothermal facility for growth factors

By Guy Montague-Jones and Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bacteria Cosmetics

ORF Genetics has opened geothermal powered cultivation facilities
in Iceland to support the launch of its plant produced growth
factors.

The biotechnology company is currently introducing the ingredients to the cosmetics industry at the Suppliers' Day show in New York. Anti-ageing ingredient ​Used to stimulate cell growth in anti-ageing products and with applications in medical research and drug discovery, the new ISOkine range of growth factors will be produced near one of Iceland's largest lava fields. The location will allow the company to use renewable geothermal energy to power its new greenhouse facility, which will be used to grow the genetically modified barley needed to create the growth factors. Plant-based platform​ Unlike other animal growth factors on the market that are produced on animal or bacteria-derived platforms, ORF Genetics uses barley's endosperm storage cell as the production host. ORF Genetics claims using barley means the growth factors are cheaper, less likely to contain toxins or contaminants and more environmentally-friendly. Geothermal energy​ To reduce the environmental impact of the production process the barley is grown using a soil-free hydroponic system that is powered using geothermal energy. ORF Genetics' co-founder and chief financial officer, Dr Júlíus Kristinsson, told CosmeticsDesign.com: "Iceland's position on the border of two tectonic plates means that it has vast geothermal reserves."Around half of the buildings in the country are heating using geothermal energy." ​Kristinsson said there is also plenty of scope for expansion both in terms of space and energy supply although for the moment the firm expects to grow four crops a year and achieve harvests of 1kg/m2 per harvest. ORF Genetics claims that the scalability of the production system means that it will be able to provide bulk quantities of ISOkine at 'competitive prices'. Target market​ Nevertheless they will be targeted at manufacturers of advanced anti-ageing products in the cosmeceuticals sector because of the intensive R&D and processing involved. ORF Genetics' CEO Dr. Bjorn Orvar said demand is growing in this niche and when the ISOkin range was introduced at In-Cosmetics in Amsterdam last month the response from the industry was 'fantastic'.

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