AlgaeCan Biotech Ltd is a Canadian company which has developed novel systems for the production of high value microalgae based bioactive ingredients for the nutraceutical industry.

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Three phases of astaxanthin production.

AlgaeCan’s first product is Astaxanthin, the most powerful natural antioxidant produced in nature. Clinical studies have shown that the antioxidant power of Astaxanthin is 6,000 times stronger than Vitamin C, 550 times more effective than Vitamin E, and 11 times more powerful than beta-carotene.

AlgaeCan’s unique process is also capable of efficiently producing other algae-derived products which have value as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biochemicals and animal feed. Its unique photobioreactors (PBR) allow the Company to consistently produce a higher yielding product than competing products obtained from open pond systems.



Astaxanthin is a powerful naturally-occurring antioxidant which neutralizes damaging free radicals. Excessive amounts of free radicals can lead to cell injury and death, which may contribute to many diseases such as cancer, stroke, myocardial infarction, diabetes and other major disorders. Free radicals may also be involved in Parkinson’s disease, deafness, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s. It is also believed that free radicals underlie the aging process.

The highest concentrations of Astaxanthin to be found in nature are found in a freshwater algae, Haematococcus pluvialis,

(H pluvialis), which is notoriously difficult to culture. This algae ubiquitous in nature and is an important source of food for many crustaceans. The Astaxanthin is responsible for the pink-red colouration of the flesh of salmonoids as well as shrimp, lobsters, crayfish and flamingoes.

  • Antioxidant power 550 times that of vitamin E and 6000 times that of vitamin C
  • Protects eyes and brain from oxidative stress
  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces wrinkles, dry skin, and age spots
One of a very few supplements that can cross the blood brain barrier
Over 40 clinical studies have shown beneficial effects on

H. pluvialis

Haematococcus pluvialis is a simple algae with a complex lifecycle.

This species is well known for its high content of the strong antioxidant astaxanthin, which is an important ingredient for aquaculture, nutraceuticals and cosmetics.

Maximal astaxanthin accumulation occurs when the environmental conditions become unfavorable for normal cell growth.

Understanding its habit in culture is critical to successful cultivation.


Intellectual Property

Commercial Astaxanthin is currently produced in open ponds, tubular reactors and closed PBR. Open pond systems are exposed to varying light conditions, seasonal weather variations and outdoor contamination. The output from open pond systems is unpredictable. PBR provide the most controlled conditions throughout the various process phases and produces a more uniform product and higher yield. Astaxanthin production is not easy, is capital intensive, requiring multiple phases of controlled growth which is relatively simple to achieve in small vessels but is extremely difficult to achieve at a commercial scale in several thousand liters of water. It requires unique environmental conditions and advanced technology solutions. The microalgae grow slowly in a very neutral environment – essentially fresh water with a small amounts of nutrients added, and are highly susceptible to contamination. The microalgae produce relatively low yields of Astaxanthin and the extraction process is complex.


AlgaeCan Bloom Bioreactor

Incorporates  5 essential elements of accelerated Algal Growth

  • Light – frequency, intensity, saturation, low energy
  • Gases – diffusion, absorption, exhalation, low pressure, low energy
  • Flow – consistent, non shearing, low energy
  • Sterilization – dependable, simple, low cost
  • Monitoringoptimal growth requires continuous monitoring and adjustment of critical parameters.

Nutrient Formula JAG

Developed over 5 years of R&D to provide exponential growth to our specific strain of Haematococcus Pluvialis.

  • Cost effective
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Specific to Astaxanthin Production

Open Pond Systems

Competitors use open ponds that are prone to inconsistent yields

Less Environmental Control

Less environmental control is possible in open pond systems


To resolve these production problems, AlgaeCan has designed, developed and built scalable PBR that deliver high yields and high quality Astaxanthin from H. pluvialis and has developed expertise in safe handling, Good Manufacturing Practice (“cGMPs”) and Good Lab Practices (“cGLPs”), quality control measures that limit contamination and assure safe production of natural health product ingredients suitable for human and animal consumption. AlgaeCan’s core expertise is its proprietary PBR closed system and artificial light sources, and its growing and stressing protocols that optimize biomass yields and bioactive concentrations. Its technology is cost effective, commercially scalable and ensures the delivery of a repeatable quality nutraceutical product and a reliable supply chain.






Research and Development is a continuing process in all successful biotechnology companies.

R&D will focus on optimizing several production parameters to increase our yield of astaxanthin per unit input.

  • Increased astaxanthin production through biological parameter optimization
  • Better photon distribution using customized LED technologies
  • Reduced energy inputs/carbon footprint through new technologies

AlgaeCan also intends to broaden its research effort toward:

  • Production of other nutraceuticals and biochemicals using our developed technologies
  • Energy Balance efficiencies with a focus on future biofuels and environmental remediation.
  • Using developed technology for other algae products

Company history

AlgaeCan was founded by James Irwin & Shane Lander in 2009. Prior to 2009 James was  active in Research and Development of algae-based biofuels and Shane was active in technology development in energy efficient systems.

The experience gained from the algae-to-biofuels work was a great introduction into the disciplines required for the production of nutraceuticals from microalgae. Astaxanthin production requires multiple phases of production along with a strong focus on energy efficiencies and technology blending.

Leading-edge lighting technologies coupled with the robust liquid handling protocols from the beverage and food industry have simplified the process of scale up.

Their accumulated understanding of the physiology of the microorganism has enabled the generation of a precisely tuned production model.

National Research Council of Canada provided financial and technical support through much of the R&D Phase.

  • David Turner

    Chief Executive Officer
  • Shane Lander

    Chief Technology Officer
  • Curtis Braun

    Chief Operating Officer
  • James Irwin

  • Rick Olsen

    VP of Facilities
  • Mark Farthing, BScEng

    Plant Operations Specialist
  • Dr. Phil Hardy, PhD

    R&D and Technical Services
Mr. Turner is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and has held senior executive positions with public and private corporations in diverse industries including nutraceuticals, healthcare, clean-tech, consumer and industrial products.  He has worked in companies ranging from start-ups and pre-commercial businesses to serving as Regional Director with a healthcare company based in Asia Pacific with responsibility for an international region with sales of approximately $1 billion. Mr. Turner has significant business turnaround experience and has led several financing transactions on international and Canadian stock exchanges. He has successfully built a $100 million nutritional ingredients company with operations in the USA and China.
Shane has more than 20 years’ experience building and running a successful chemical manufacturing and sales business called Odorchem, located in BC.  An entrepreneur, Lander has developed proprietary chemicals and equipment vital to providing his company with a market advantage.  He has applied this knowledge and experience to AlgaeCan’s operations, and his experience with mechanical and electronic systems has been invaluable in the task of scaling up the production of the algae and designing data collection and monitoring systems.
Dr. Braun obtained a PhD (Chemistry) from the University of British Columbia and received postdoctoral training in the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University.  He has over 14 years in operational management experience, with eight of those years as Vice President, Operations at biotech/analytical testing Companies, one of which he took through Stage 1, clinical trials for cancer therapeutic before it was sold.  He is entrepreneurial, energetic, and bottom line oriented.  During the last four years Curtis worked in finance and operations for a non-profit organization, amalgamating two schools, and developed their international program that turned the society from money losing to profitability in the last two years.
James was trained as a computer scientist and received subsequent training in biological sciences from the University of Toronto Phycological Culture Centre.  James developed an interest in algae culture and the products derived from algae while he was working on a microalgae to biofuels project. He first looked at bioenergy applications using algae before realizing the opportunity to extract Astaxanthin from H. pluvialis.  He is self-taught and now has more than eight years of direct, hands on experience in working with algae culture.
Rick has more than 20 years’ experience in successful contract builds from small to multi-million dollar projects. His experience is diverse including controlling budgets, human resources, managing trades and subcontractor and liaison with executive officers and labor staff.  Rick’s education includes hi level management training, Red Seal journeyman carpentry and variety of other courses related to the building and human resources industries. Rick has been invaluable in the task of scaling up the production and build out of AlgaeCan.  Rick is also a key component in the company’s development of critical systems such as power, water and air systems capable of operating at scale. He is standardizing all processes by creating Standard Operational Procedures (SOP’s) and Operational Guidelines (OG’s) for the company.
Mark has extensive food production experience including product development and supervision of high speed production lines. A highly skilled trouble-shooter in a manufacturing environment, he has extensive experience in day-to-day business operations, quality control and marketing programs of a food manufacturing facility. Marks experience in the dairy and food industry has been extremely valuable in developing robust systems for the handling of micro algae cultures. Mark’s experience in designing highly efficient systems will be the backbone of our day to day operations and his qualifications include, HTST Operator’s License, Fourth Class Engineer’s Certificate of Competency, Bachelor of Science (Chemical Engineering) University of Alberta (1995), Bachelor of Science (Food Science) University of Alberta (1992)
Phil is co-founder of North American BioExtracts and Pine River Petrochemicals and has worked for numerous companies including Ischemia Technologies, Thermo Electron, Inverness Medical Innovations and Accera Inc. Dr. Hardy's R&D experience is in molecular and cell biology, in vitro diagnostics and pharmaceutical drug development, and has transitioned to Operations activities in several FDA regulated environments. Over the past five years he has refocused on the algal and phyto-nutrient industry, performing project management, business development and manufacturing operations activities with smaller companies including Pine River Petrochemicals, North American BioExtracts, Canadian Pacific Algae and Abattis Biologix Corp. He holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Queensland, Australia, majoring in molecular neurobiology and 2 years as post doctorate at the University of Colorado studying cancer gene therapy.

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9790 190th Street
Surrey BC V4N3M9


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