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  • Head Office  MAP
    Okinawa Life Science 107 
    5-8 Suzaki, Uruma- City 
    Okinawa Prefecture 
    Japan  〒904-2234
  • Uruma Institution MAP
    Okinawa Science & Technology 
    Promotion Center 3F 
    12-75 Suzaki, Uruma-City 
    Okinawa Prefecture 
    FAX :+81(98)982-1332
  •  Okinawa Health BioTechnology 

    Research Center Map
    12-75 Suzaki, Uruma-City
    Okinawa Prefecture   

Head Office TEL:+81 (098)891-8280

TOP > Research & Development

Research & Development

OPBIO offers the following natural products research and development support services:



OPBIO has sample collection experts who utilize well-developed marine research techniques based on biodistribution data. We also have symbiotic collaborations with Japanese universities and research institutes that have marine research vessels, as well as specialized agencies with strong ties to fishermen and fishing cooperatives. Such strong network facilitates very high marine natural products resource search and collection capabilities nationwide for OPBIO. Our marine bioresources are collected from various environments including not-easily accessible areas such as tidal flats, coral reefs, undersea caves and deep-sea floor by divers and fishermen who are very familiar with the seas of Japan.








In addition to marine organisms, we also collect samples from terrestrial habitats. OPBIO has been collecting data on the traditional use of natural product materials with a focus on the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa. Okinawa is well known for its people’s good health and longevity, with their traditional use of medicinal and edible natural products. We currently have data on the medicinal/food historical uses of 1,341 natural product materials in Ryukyu Islands. Information on locally fermented foods is also available.
We can collect and supply biological resources based on the needs of our clients. For example, we provide materials containing a “specific substance" or "seaweed used as food” upon request. We accept projects to collect and evaluate microbial strains with specified activities such as oil degradation.
We keep Records of all collected data such as date and place of source as well as other required biological information which are necessary for sample recollection.





Strain Isolation and Identification

Using proprietary isolation methods and media, we are able to isolate highly diverse species of microorganisms (filamentous fungi and actinomycetes) from collected marine samples such as macroorganisms, seawater and seabed mud. The isolated microbial strains are identified by gene sequencing. Our collection also contains undescribed species and an obligate marine genus, Salinispora.
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We have one of the world’s largest microalgae strain collection (2,000) that are maintained using our own storage technology. About 200 of the algal strains are thraustochytrids, heterotrophic marine protists, which are known candidates for production of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega-3 PUFA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and squalene. We offer services on sterilization of microalgae strains, species identification and studies of culture conditions.
Okinawa has unique fermented food, which are underdeveloped isolation sources for lactic acid bacteria and yeasts. We isolate microbial strains from fermented food, and the isolated strains are identified and their biosafety levels evaluated by gene sequencing.

Sampling 1 Samplin 2 sampling 3

Culture (Fermentation) and Sample Preparation


Our team has developed culture and fermentation methods for microorganisms from different habitats. We also have optimized protocols for extracts preparation.  
We provide various libraries prepared from marine macroorganisms, microbes (actinomycetes, filamentous fungi, other bacteria) and from microalgae, as shown in the following scheme. The OPBIO diversity analysis platform, a database and diversity analysis software, utilizes the UPLC-HRMS data of natural products extracts to select samples with minimum duplication of compounds. It enables us to build and provide natural products libraries with a wide variety of compounds to maximize the potential of finding novel compounds.

Culture (Fermentation) and Sample Preparation

OPBIO can also prepare extracts and fractions to suit clients’s needs. Extraction methods will be optimized for your target component from in-house or provided samples. Fractionation can be carried out using HPLC or an automated two-dimensional chromatography system with an orthogonal system of SPE and reversed phase HPLC (SEPBOX-2D 250 or 2000).
OPBIO provides the extracts of marine macro organisms such as edible seaweed and seafood. These materials are Stored as dried powder and excrats will be made on demand.

Sampling 4

Library samples are individually bar-coded. We also have copies of samples in 96-well plates for biological or chemical screening. Samples in 384-well formats can also be prepared.

Samplin 4
Our natural product libraries are stored in a Labo Stocker Mini, an automatic freezer system that stores, picks up, and delivers frozen samples. It is capable of managing various different types of bar-coded containers such as vials, tubes, and plates and used for high throughput sample storage and retrieval.


Biological Assays

OPBIO can screen compounds, fractions and extracts using available in-house assays that include cell-based assays, antibacterial, antifungal, and enzyme-based assays using a wide variety of assay systems such as reporter gene assay. We can set up specific assays from the clients or unique assays that are available in affiliate universities and institutes.

  • Assays using live cell imaging system are available, and we have enabled the rapid evaluation of multi-specimens by automating the image acquisition. To determine the cellular effects of a physiologically active compound, we also offer screening by multi-gene rapid expression analysis.
  • Screening 2

    OPBIO Phenotypic Screening 
  • OPBIO phenotypic screening was developed from a combination of our marine organisms sampling technique and screening innovation. The screen is low-cost, quick and selective in isolating microorganisms producing the active compound compared to general screening methods. A new antifungal compound (Kakeromycin) was discovered from a marine actinomycete using this technique.
  • Screening for target compounds from our in-house UPLC-MS Database

OPBIO has UPLC-DAD-HRMS analysis data of in-house extracts in our database system, which can be queried for different applications. A few examples include searches for:

.  Presence of undesirable or toxic components in the natural product extract or fraction 
A target compound in an extract or fraction, then selection of the best source (high-producing
  strain for its development 
Natural product extract similar in profile to a target extract. For example, if there is an extract you
  want to use but has patent issues, we can search for other extracts that may contain the same   
  desired components.  
The UPLC-DAD-HRMS data of assay hits are also used for rapid dereplication analysis to enable us to narrow down the hit list and prioritize samples for active compound isolation and structure elucidation.We can also run UPLC-HRMS analysis of samples provided by clients.  

Compound purification and Structure Elucidation


We offer purification and structure determination of active compounds from assay hits. We use different chromatographic methods including automated HPLC and 2D HPLC systems (SepBox-2D) for isolation of target compounds. Isolation methods are created to suit the properties (polarity, MW, chemical class, stability, etc.) of target compounds. Structure elucidation is carried out using data from high resolution mass spectrometers and 600MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) equipment.
Our company has proven track record in purification and structure elucidation of compounds from a variety of organisms (marine macroorganisms, microalgae and microbes). We purify and elucidate structure of compounds from our library as well as those provided by Clients.


Lead Optimization and Development


We offer a range of services including design and synthesis of active compounds and analogues for further development.

Our scientists have extensive natural products synthesis and management experience, i.e. in the design and synthesis of active compounds and derivatives as well as structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies. We will support synthesis projects from initial lead optimization stage to preclinical stage. We can work with strategic partners in the evaluation and selection of synthetic analogue(s) with the best profiles of high activity and excellent safety.

Material Resupply and scale-up


We offer resupply of larger amounts of active compound for identification and further development. Re-fermentation of the microbes can be carried out at different scales: from test tubes, flasks, mini- to large- jar fermenters. We can carry out the optimization of fermentation, extraction, and purification methods to obtain high yield of the active compound

We can resupply extracts of microalgae hits by setting up cultures from 0.4 to several thousand liters scale, depending on clients requirements.


Our marine macroorganisms are stored as dried powder material (ca. 500g) and are available for resupply. In case of additional material, collection can be done with other collaborators. Availability of some samples may depend on the season.