In developing countries, infectious diseases are the leading challenge, while developed countries must deliver appropriate services to ageing populations and face increasingly diseases like cancer and inflammation. As the world’s population is ageing and growing, these challenges will only increase, but pharmaceutical companies struggle to meet new demands.
Corals are ancient animals living in symbiosis with microorganisms. Because they cannot move to escape, they use chemistry to protect themselves from predators but also from parasites and infections while regulating immunity to tolerate their symbiotic partners. Because they perfected these chemical defenses for 500 Million years, they represent an extremely rich chemodiversity for drug discovery.
We cultivate corals to explore the extraordinary resources hidden in the sea and develop marine natural products of interest for major public health issues.
Our approach has paid off. We have already identified over 30 marine natural products of interest. As an example, one of our first isolated molecule from specific cultured coral species was palytoxin. We have manage to establish high-scale production method and demonstrated its in vitro efficacy on some cancer cells.