KAS bolsters team to enter next phase of commercializing natural astaxanthin

July 1, 2021

Kuehnle AgroSystems (KAS), a Hawaii-based microalgae products company, announced today it has strengthened its executive and advisory teams as it enters the next phase of the commercialization of its groundbreaking product. Having developed a novel patented process for the low-cost sustainable production of natural astaxanthin in algae, KAS is now entering the scale-up phase. KAS plans to transfer their product into commercial production over the next six months.

To support this technology transfer phase, Dr. Heidi Kuehnle, a founder of KAS, will take the role of CTO and focus on the technical and manufacturing elements. From 1st July Dr. Claude Kaplan will join the executive team as CEO, to focus on the commercial and investment elements of the business.

Dr. Kaplan has over 20 years of experience in the commercialization of new technology in the animal health / aquaculture market working with a wide range of multinational companies, research institutes and governments. He has successfully established and grown a number of innovative ventures in the agritech space and has spent the previous five years as the Head of IP Commercialization for a global aquaculture company.

In addition, KAS announced its newly formed strategic committee of trusted advisors. This Advisory Board includes distinguished leaders from the astaxanthin/nutrition, algae, and industrial fermentation sectors, whose focus will be to shape and guide the strategy and go-to-market priorities of KAS, working closely with the leadership team.

New KAS Advisory Board members include (in alphabetical order):

  • Brent Bailey, MBA, business strategy, business development with two decades as a C-Level executive with full P&L responsibility at Cyanotech (BioAstin), Pharmavite (Nature Made) and Dial (Renuzit), based in California, USA
  • Bruno Sommer Ferreira, PhD, Research and Innovation Director of A4F, an algae ingredients leader, and CEO of Biotrend, a bioprocess development firm based in Cantanhede (Lisbon area), Portugal
  • Keith Flanegan, PE, an innovation-enabling and bottom-line focused fermentation engineering specialist and founder of IdeaCHEM, Inc., an engineering firm based in South Dakota, USA

"This is an important milestone for KAS," said Dr. Kuehnle. "As we enter into this next and exciting phase of the company, it is wonderful to be able to strengthen our executive team with the skills, expertise and track record of Claude. We also thoughtfully curated this board to bring a diversity of backgrounds, specialty expertise, and perspectives. This includes business strategy and engineering/manufacturing industry experts whose collective experience ensures KAS has the guidance it needs to navigate its way in the dynamic plant-based sustainable solutions markets.

Dr. Kaplan further added “I am really honored to have the opportunity to work the brilliant KAS team. KAS has an amazing product that is about to transform the astaxanthin market. Working with the world-class advisors and our commercial partners we are looking to bring our patented low-cost 100% natural algal-derived astaxanthin products to the aquafeed and human nutraceutical markets in 2022.