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BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram

Novel sperm immobilization technology for large scale production of bull semen doses

Alternative title: Ny teknologi for immobilisering av spermier for bruk i storskala produksjon av sæddoser fra okser

Awarded: NOK 13.5 mill.

Project Number:

317871

Application Type:

Project Period:

2021 - 2024

Funding received from:

Location:

Subject Fields:

SpermVital AS has developed and patented a ground-breaking technology for immobilization and cryopreservation of sperm cells. Sperm are immobilized in an alginate gel, which is gradually dissolved within the female after artificial insemination. Contrary to standard semen doses where all sperm are immediately deposited, the gel with immobilized sperm will release sperm populations for at least 24 hours and thus allows fertile sperm to be present over an extended period of time. The technology is in commercial use in cattle breeding and makes timing of AI less critical, achieving increased fertilization and production efficiency. However, the current production procedures require trained personnel from SpermVital at the customer sites, which limits the market expansion. SpermVital has thus been heavily affected by Covid19 due to travel restrictions. The objective of the proposed project is to disrupt the AI market by introduction of a novel, efficient and user-friendly technology where the SpermVital gelation process is automatically initialized and completed following filling of the semen containers.

SpermVital AS has developed and patented a technology for immobilization and cryopreservation of sperm. The company has launched the product in the market for bull semen, in Norway and in several European countries, and is experiencing significant demand. The sperm are immobilized in a homogeneous alginate gel, which gradually dissolves inside the female after AI. This revolutionary semen processing technology is designed to provide greater flexibility for the timing of AI and thereby change the worldwide negative trend of fertility. Contrary to standard AI where all sperm are immediately deposited, the gel with immobilized sperm will release distinct sperm populations for at least 24 hours and thus allows fertile sperm to be present over an extended period of time. However, the current production procedure is quite complicated handicraft with limitations in production efficiency. The objective of the proposed project is to disrupt the AI market by introduction of a novel technology where the SpermVital gelation process is automatically initialized and completed following filling of the semen containers. With this novel technology, gelling is controlled by the release of molecules from the semen container material. This will eliminate SpermVital's current limitations by simplifying the AI dose production process, thus meeting the market demand for the technology, and expanding the international market significantly by manufacturing and marketing ready-made production kits. In the project, it is important to ensure that SpermVital's product processed with a new technology has stable quality and a well-documented effect when used in large-scale production. This will be documented through characterization of sperm quality, studies of the gel and in vitro studies that mimic the natural environment in females. Furthermore, dissolution, release and survival will be documented in vivo through pilot and large field trials.

Activity:

BIONÆR-Bionæringsprogram