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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

KIOST Completes Technology Transfer of Marine Protein Material FGF2

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  • Date : 2020-03-31
Structure of FGF2 with enhanced temperature stability 바로보기 A Comparison of Activity Under Harsh Conditions 바로보기

The Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) (President Kim Woongseo) announced its development of the FGF*2 Polypeptide**, a biomedical material created based on marine proteins with enhanced temperature stability, and the completion of the technology transfer to ProCell Therapeutics, Inc. (CEO Lee Byeonggyu), a developer of skin and hair care products and pharmaceuticals.
* FGF (Fibroblast Growth Factors): Factors and signaling proteins that facilitate the increase of vascular cells and growth of nerve cells. Humans, whales, and other mammals have 22 types of FGF involved in a variety of physiological functions, such as angiogenesis, wound healing, cytodifferentiation, and metabolic regulation.
** Polypeptide: A compound of amino acids linked in chains by peptide bonds. Polypeptides are similar to proteins. Usually, if the molecular weight of the compound is relatively small, it is referred to as a polypeptide. If the molecular weight of the compound is large, it is referred to as a protein.


Since ProCell Therapeutics, Inc. is classified as a small- to medium-sized business, the technology transfer fee was discounted by 70%, pursuant to the KIOST’s technology transfer contract and follow-up management rules, and amounted to KRW 30 million (with an advanced technology fee of KRW 5 million and a regular technology fee of 3.3% of all total revenue). The period of validity for the technology transfer is from March 3, 2020 to December 31, 2035.


The research team led by Lee Junghyun (Ph.D.) (Vice President of the KIOST) is currently tackling the “development of marine protein-based biomedical materials  (20172022),” as part of a project operated by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries for the development of bio-engineering technologies in the marine and fishery industries. The team has focused its research on FCF related to hypoxia resistance and wound healing, the biological attributes of whales, and the activation and uses of other marine animal genes.


FGF2, one of 22 types of FGF, can combine with and induce the production of elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid and has received much attention as a raw material effective for wound healing, wrinkle reduction, and hair loss prevention. However, FGF2 found in humans is highly unstable, and loses most of its activity within 24 hours at room temperature, making it unsuitable for use as a product material.


The KIOST analyzed the characteristics and structure of FGF2 in whales and developed “Stable FGF2, ” which has a residual activity of 50%, even under harsh conditions (temperatures of 45˚C). The new form of FGF2 developed by the KIOST team is 9.6 times more stable than wild-type FGF2***. The technology was registered under a domestic patent in 2019, and the technology transfer has already been completed.
*** Wild-type FGF2: This refers to the initial, naturally-occurring form of a gene (standard form) found in a wild species. This trait is most commonly found in nature, and the term is used in contrast to “mutant” genes.


Vice President Lee commented, “The unique life phenomena of marine organisms are being discovered at the genetic level, and it is our goal to understand the biological characteristics of marine mammals that have adapted to a marine environment to discover how these materials can be applied to human diseases.” Vice President Lee added, “The KIOST will continue to explore useful materials through marine biotechnology research and lead the advancement of the marine bio industry.”



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Last Update : 2020-03-07