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RED Grants program supports Marine Biomedical in developing the PearlBone™ technology.

Through its RED Grants program, the State Government funded $200,000 to Marine Biomedical to support the development of its PearlBone™ technology. 

Broome-based, Marine Biomedical took part in the 4th round of the RED Grants Program and received a $200,000 grant to construct a laboratory to conduct Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for their PearlBone™ project.

Marine Biomedical: sustainably revolutionising medical practices

Marine Biomedical is a biotechnology company focused on developing and manufacturing innovative medical products derived from marine resources. 

Marine Biomedical was created as a response to the growing needs for bone implants and grafts. As osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and traumatic fractures became more and more common health issues around the globe, the limits of conventional bone implants and grafts arose. While human transplants from one bone to another came with the risks of either damaging another healthy part of the body or transmitting diseases to the body, the use of synthetic substances led to complicated healing processes as no biological components were used. 

As orthopaedic scientists Professor Minghao Zheng and Dr Rui (Chris) Ruan, from the University of Western Australia, were investigating safer and gentler alternatives to these conventional methods, he demonstrated the potential marine organisms offer. He demonstrated the ability of nacre to mimic biological and biomechanics properties of the human bone tissues, hence offering a new solution for bone implants and grafts. 

Collaborating with the aquaculture industry and partnering with Patrick Moase, Professor Minghao Zheng and Dr Rui (Chris) Ruan founded Marine Biomedical. Together they created The PearlBone™ technology: a synthetic bone scaffold using the nacre contained in pearl oysters’ shells.

The PearlBone™ technology

Derived from the nacre of Broome’s silver-lipped pearl oyster (Pinctada maxima), PearlBone™ utilises the natural process of mollusc biomineralisation to favour bone formation in the field of trauma medicine. Converting calcium carbonate from the pearl shells into a solution that has the same properties as human bone tissue, Marine Biomedical can realise safe and effective bone implants. 

As the technology demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in pre-clinical trials, it could revolutionise the global bone substitute market.

From PearlBone™ trials to manufacturing thanks to the RED Grants Program

In 2020, Marine Biomedical alongside the University of Western Australia School of Surgery and Orthopedic Research embarked on a journey to commercialise the PearlBone™ technology. 

Answering the call for projects launched by the Kimberley Government, Marine Biomedical benefited from a $200,000 grant and the Kimberley Government Commission’s support to build a laboratory to pilot Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for their PearlBone™ project.

Today, it is this state-of-the-art laboratory and clean room facility that provide the company with all the tools it needs to start manufacturing and selling its innovation. Indeed, it is the support provided by the RED Grants and the Kimberley Government Commission that enabled Marine Biomedical to pursue its research and development activities, diversifying the WA pearling industry and strengthening Kimberley’s economy.

As the site is on a pathway to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and further with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulatory approvals, Marine Biomedical already envisions new possibilities for marine-derived bio-additives solutions and the growth of its Broome headquarters. Intending to establish the first ISO7 standard cleanroom manufacturing facility in the Kimberley, Marine Biomedical hopes to “demonstrate the vision of our founding partners: the evolution of PearlBone™ from concept to a medical product manufactured and packaged in the very same town that supplies our unique raw materials.”

Proudly Western Australian, for Patrick COASE, CEO of Marine Biomedical, ‘With the pristine environment, perfect work and life balance, Kimberley makes the perfect place for visionaries. The potential for growth across diverse industries is abundant and if you look outside the box you will find the inspiration right here.’ 

RED Grants Program: supporting the growth of Kimberley’s businesses and communities

With a $50.85 million budget to dispense, this program distributes up to $250,000 in grants to initiatives that contribute to the region and community’s development by bolstering employment, enhancing skills and expertise held within the Kimberley region, and attracting new investments. 

Created with the support of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), the program supports initiatives that align with the Kimberley Development Commission’s regional priorities and ambitions: 

  • Aboriginal economic development
  • Innovation and Industry Diversification
  • Growing primary production
  • Tourism
  • Workforce development and accommodation
  • Vibrant communities and innovation

Running until 2026, the Kimberley RED Grants Program has already allocated $2.9M to accompany the development of various local initiatives such as Walaja Raw Bush Honey. Find the whole list of projects here.


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