First Algae-based Pain Medication

 Seagriculture EU 2024

N​ew Zealand’s Cawthron Institute has announced that they have developed a reliable and commercially scalable method for producing neosaxitoxin, a key ingredient of an algae-based pain medication. The potent toxin comes from the paralytic shellfish toxin family, found in the marine microalgae Alexandrium pacificum. Neosaxitoxin can be combined with existing local anesthetics for use as an improved long-term pain relief for patients following many types of surgeries and for treating severe local pain.

“It offers an alternative to opioids for the management of post-operative pain. Because it’s long-lasting, isn’t addictive and doesn’t depress the central nervous system it could transform surgical recovery,” said New Zealand’s Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “This is an excellent outcome from the Government’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. We partnered with Cawthron in 2020 on the project, each investing $950,000.”

The local anesthetics currently on the market are of two chemical classes, amino-amides and amino-esters, and they have changed very little over the past 50 years. Neosaxitoxin is the first member of the class of molecules called site 1 sodium channel blockers to be used in human clinical trials as a local anesthetic.

All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint articles in their entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact Algae Planet accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Seagriculture USA 2024



  • May 22, 2024: Scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences have assessed the effects of wild harvested and freeze-dried Asparagopsis taxiformis inclusion in the grass silage-based diets of Norwegian Red dairy cows on feed intake, milk yield and composition, rumen fermentation, and CH4 emission, and have demonstrated promising results both in vitro and in vivo. READ MORE...
  • May 20, 2024: Scientists from Nelson’s Cawthron Institute have joined a $5 million pilot aimed at creating a sustainable commercial seaweed industry in New Zealand. The scientists are conducting a seaweed-growing trial at a mussel farm off the coast of Motueka as part of the Greenwave Aotearoa regenerative ocean farming pilot. READ MORE...
  • May 17, 2024: BettaF!sh, a leading alt seafood and seaweed start-up in Europe, has announced its involvement in the FunSea project, a collaborative EU-wide research initiative designed to advance the nutritional quality and safety of cultivated brown and green seaweed. This research project intends to develop novel, sustainable food products over a three-year period, by employing cutting-edge processing technologies and utilizing residual biomass from biomarine industries. READ MORE...
  • May 15, 2024: The 2024 Algae Biomass Summit, to be held in Houston, Texas, October 20-22, 2024, is now accepting speaker and poster abstracts for the world’s largest algae conference. Abstracts should be submitted by May 24th to receive preferential scoring by the review committee, as well as student registration discounts. READ MORE...

Algae Europe 2024

A Beginner’s Guide