Although ArcticZymes has a short history as a company, the business area has a longer history as a part of Biotec Pharmacon ASA.
In the early 1990’s, the founders of the company had developed processes that utilized pepsin from Atlantic cod for various purposes within the fishing industry. For these processes the company produced enzyme and processing aids. Eventually, this activity was discontinued. At that point, the company had decided to focus this business area to high grade enzymes for use in research and molecular diagnostics. Still there was a profound belief that the cold-adapted properties of marine enzymes could be found useful in these processes.
In 1993, Biotec took over the production of Shrimp Alkaline Phosphatase (SAP) from Marine Biochemicals, later Biotec acquired all of the remains of this company, including products and intellectual rights. The company further developed an effective and consistent production method for the enzyme from shrimp industry process water.
SAP was the first alkaline phosphatase on the market that could be completely inactivated by moderate heat treatment, and this made the enzyme also useful for the purification of PCR products before sequencing and genotyping. This protocol was patented by Amersham Biosciences. Since then the business grew steadily, and Shrimp Alkaline Phosphatase has for long become a standard tool for genetic research and a well known product by everyone involved in genetic research.
Later the company has expanded their portfolio of marine enzymes by two new products, developed together with collaborators at the University of Tromsø and the Norwegian Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture. Cod Uracil-DNA Glycosylase and dsDNase from Arctic Shrimp were produced as recombinant enzymes and first market introduction was in 2002. Both enzymes were found to be particularly useful for controlling contamination in RT-PCR. We are also proud to have qualified our enzymes for approved molecular diagnostics applications.
Today, all of our enzymes are produced in recombinant expression systems. Also Shrimp Alkaline Phosphatase is now available in large, consistent batches in recombinant form, and as such the future supply of raw material for enzyme production is secured. The company has during this work established considerable expertise in recombinant enzyme production in Pichia pastoris, a system that has shown very useful for expression of fully functional enzymes, also from eukaryotic organisms.