Glycomar forms part of the thriving marine science community in Argyll


Located on the rugged west coast just north of Oban, GlycoMar enjoys easy access to many of the natural marine resources it uses when discovering and developing its innovative products.

Looking through porthole window at man in white coat in lab setting

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Founded by leading biochemist Dr Charlie Bavington in 2005, GlycoMar is a marine natural products and drug discovery company.

It uses diverse organisms from the marine environment to develop new ingredients for products used in healthcare, cosmetics, and nutrition.

GlycoMar’s healthcare and pharmaceutical products are used to address issues such as eczema, rhinitis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease; its cosmetic ingredients are used in the skincare market; and its nutraceutical ingredients are in demand from the supplements and functional food markets.

“We’re an R&D company that covers early stages from discovery through to product development. Beyond that we look to partner, or licence out,” explains Dr Bavington.

“In 2016, we set up Prasinotech, a joint venture with Norwegian technology company MicroA. We manufacture high-value polysaccharide products from microalgae – and we’re the first company in the world to do this. Production is sustainable and completely natural, using only light and carbon dioxide to cultivate the microalgae in seawater. Our first products, which between us we took from discovery right through to market, are Prasinoguard and PrasinoPS, active ingredients for use in cosmetic skincare.”

“HIE has helped us a lot over the years,” says Dr Bavington. “As a shareholder, they invested in the company with development grants and have generally been very positive and helpful in supporting our development. There’s been a lot of interaction and they’ve been willing to be creative. That’s starting to really pay off now.

“We’ve invested a lot and done a huge amount of R&D over the 12 years we’ve been going, and we’re in a strong position now with lots of intellectual property (IP). So the focus now is looking for new ways to use this IP in future products.”

We benefit greatly from sitting within this marine-focused cluster as it gives us the opportunity to share facilities, equipment and knowledge with other like-minded organisations.
Dr Charlie Bavington, founder, GlycoMar


GlycoMar is situated at the heart of the vibrant and growing cluster of marine-related organisations and companies in the European Marine Science Park at Dunstaffnage, near Oban. The Park sits alongside the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences (SAMS), and Europe’s largest Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa.

“Our location is fantastic for several reasons,” says Dr Bavington. “We benefit greatly from sitting within this marine-focused cluster as it gives us the opportunity to share facilities, equipment and knowledge with other like-minded organisations such as SAMS. We also carry out shared R&D and mutual seminars. Most of Scotland’s aquaculture industry is based in the Highlands and Islands, and this also brings many great opportunities."And, of course, a major benefit of our location is that we’re able to exploit the rich marine resources that are right on our doorstop for use in our products. This is a unique opportunity and there are lots of discoveries to be made – both in the ocean and on the beach. We use natural resources like seaweeds, microalgae and other organisms from all over the world, but particularly from right here on our own shores.

“So it’s an ideal environment for marine-based companies. It’s a good place for start-up companies to access cutting-edge expertise, a skilled talent pool and excellent facilities.”

“I’ve been here for 20 years now,” says Dr Bavington. “From my viewpoint, and that of my family, it’s a great place to live and work. It’s safe. There are good services. And there are obviously brilliant outdoor pursuits.

“It’s also a great location from a business point of view. With modern communication it really doesn’t matter where you are. And being located where we are means there’s a pool of people with the right qualifications in the area. There’s plenty of potential talent from the University of the Highlands and Islands, too. Of course, I spend a lot of time travelling – but everything else more than makes up for that!”

Easy waterfront access is available at the European Marine science park in Argyll

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