MAREX is an EC FP7-funded program coordinated by the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki. There are altogether 19 participants from 13 countries involved in the project:

  • University of Helsinki (Co-ordinator), Finland
  • University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
  • University of Gdansk, Poland
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Åbo Akademi University, Finland
  • American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile
  • Université de Strasbourg, France
  • Ege University, Turkey
  • Università Degli Studi di Napoli 'Federico II', Italy
  • Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile
  • Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland
  • National Institute of Oceanography, India
  • IMEGO AB, Sweden
  • Xention, UK
  • BioVico, Poland
  • Ebiotec S.A., Spain
  • BiotechMarine, France

The principal investigators from the Faculty of Pharmacy are professor Heikki Vuorela (Scientific Co-ordinator, Division of Pharmaceutical Biology), professor Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma (Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry), and docent Päivi Tammela (Centre for Drug Research).

MAREX website »»

Project summary

Biodiversity in the seas is only partly explored, although marine organisms are excellent sources for many industrial products. Through close co-operation between industrial and academic partners, the MAREX project will collect, isolate and classify marine organisms, such as micro- and macroalgae, cyanobacteria, sea anemones, tunicates and fish from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as from the Mediterranean, Baltic and Arabian Seas. Extracts and purified compounds of these organisms will be studied for several therapeutically and industrially significant biological activities, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticoagulant activities by applying a wide variety of screening tools, as well as for ion channel/receptor modulation and plant growth regulation. Chromatographic isolation of bioactive compounds will be followed by structural determination. Sustainable cultivation methods for promising organisms and biotechnological processes for selected compounds will be developed, as well as biosensors for monitoring the target compounds. The work will entail sustainable organic synthesis of selected active compounds and new derivatives, and development of selected hits to lead compounds. The project will expand marine compound libraries. MAREX innovations will be targeted for industrial product development in order to improve the growth and productivity of European marine biotechnology. MAREX aims at a better understanding of environmentally conscious sourcing of marine biotechnology products and increased public awareness of marine biodiversity and potential. Finally, MAREX is expected to offer novel marine-based lead compounds for European industries and strengthen their product portfolios related to pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetic, agrochemical, food processing, material and biosensor applications.