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Honey to fight bacteria new business idea

27 November 2012

It has long been known that honey is good for health. Lund researchers Tobias Olofsson and Alejandra Vàsquez discovered why and started the company Concellae in the hope that serious infections could be cured with normal honey.

The holding companies at Lund University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) are now making a joint investment in the company.
“Getting support at this level is great. The new co-ownership not only represents a stamp of quality for Concellae, but also brings us partners with great experience and understanding of both research and business”, says Alejandra Vàsquez, a researcher in medical microbiology at Lund University and one of the two founders of Concellae.

The research findings on which the company is based relate to 13 healthy lactic acid bacteria that are naturally present in a bee’s honey stomach. The bacteria have various antimicrobial properties that make them effective against bacteria that cause disease, in humans as well as in bees. It is hoped that the company’s products will become an important alternative to current antibiotics or a treatment for serious infections.

“Lactic acid bacteria can together form hundreds of different active substances that create an arsenal against dangerous microorganisms. This makes them particularly effective against bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, but they can also be used in many other areas. It is the use of lactic acid bacteria that we have patented”, explains Alejandra Vàsquez.

Concellae was started to enable the researchers’ knowledge of microorganisms to be used outside the University. The holding company at Lund University and SLU Holding AB together own ten per cent of Concellae. The majority partners in the company are the two researchers, who own 37.5 per cent each. In conjunction with the new part-ownership, Lund University’s Director of Innovation Linus Wiebe becomes a member of the board of Concellae and Johannes Dyring from SLU Holding AB becomes a board representative.

“The broad field of application makes this company particularly exciting. As well as the obvious medical uses, Concellae’s products are also of interest in food and veterinary medicine”, says Linus Wiebe.

Lund University Innovation System AB has 40 different research companies in its portfolio. The companies work in diverse areas such as life science, nanoscience, food, engineering and social innovations. The other new part-owner is SLU Holding AB, which focuses on research-based innovation in the green sector, from human and animal health to renewable energy, food and biotechnology.

“This collaboration between two leading Swedish universities and their holding companies offers a major advantage for reaching out to the international market. Concellae’s founders, who have worked extensively with researchers at SLU, have identified unique solutions with the potential to lead to a number of new, innovative applications in both human and animal health”, says Johannes Dyring, CEO of SLU Holding AB.

Tobias Olofsson and Alejandra Vàsquez have received a lot of attention for their research, both in Sweden and internationally. Last week alone they were featured on national television news and in a national newspaper in Sweden in connection with their discovery of the importance of honey for human health.

Text: Anna Knutsson


For more information, please contact:
Alejandra Vàsquez, Head of Research, Concellae, +46 705 89 80 89, alejandra.vasquez@med.lu.se

Linus Wiebe, Director of Innovation, Lund University, +46 46 222 12 51, +46 733 45 12 40, linus.wiebe@luis.lu.se

Johannes Dyring, CEO, SLU Holding AB, +46 18 67 25 45, johannes.dyring@slu.se