MarPipe is a Research and Training Network of 11 academic and industrial partners based in 8 European countries working in collaboration to train young researchers in the field of marine drug-discovery.

The academic partners will offer their expertise in marine chemical ecology, microbiology, applied phycology and pharmacology and natural products chemistry. The industrial partners with advanced know-how in compound screening will provide strong support for the production of key bioactives to be developed as pharmaceuticals.

This consortium aims at improving the feasibility of using marine natural products in drug discovery programmes by overcoming the historical and complex bottlenecks, such as low quantities of secondary metabolites, supply issue of biological samples, cultivability and low microbial chemodiversity in standard lab conditions, difficulties in isolation, chemical structure elucidation of compounds, early and reliable validation of bioactivity and the best mechanisms of flow-through into exploitation.

MarPipe has the following scientific objectives:

  • Further develop hits already identified in 10 strains by MarPipe partners in ongoing EU projects in the anti-infective and anticancer fields.
  • Analyse microorganisms that are currently uncultivable and improve methods of their cultivation and co-cultivation in order to optimize production of bioactives compounds. Samples will be provided by the Eurofleet2- Pharmadeep cruise in December 2015 in sub Antarctic deep-sea trenches (Drake Passage, 5000 m).
  • Apply functional bioassays by using metabolic engineering for the discovery of molecular pathways, or apply OSMAC and co-cultivation techniques to awaken silent biosynthetic pathways.
  • Apply sophisticated analytical methods and develop new protocols for the stimulation (of biosynthesis), extraction, isolation, purification and enrichment of biomolecules.
  • Apply medicinal chemistry approaches to optimize the efficacy of target molecules.
  • Scale-up production processes through flexible bioreactor technologies.
  • Address legal and policy constraints in the drug discovery pipeline.
  • Develop innovation and business strategies for drug biodiscovery.