Thallia: Industrial scale microalgae

Unlike bacteria and yeast, microalgae have been relatively unexploited as a production system. Thallia Pharmaceuticals (formerly Heliosynthese) is exploiting more than 20 years of expertise in microalgae production to develop drugs and nutraceuticals.

Company founder Claude Gudin began working on microalgae in 1974 when he was at British Petroleum. Then in 1980, the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique (France) started a program in bioenergy conversion based on the potential of microalgae as a source of energy. Over 10 years, the government spent $20 million on the research, developing the underlying understanding of microalgae that formed the basis for Thallia. By the early 1990s, SGN, an industrial branch of CEA, had refocused its efforts on the development of microalgae as a production system.