ArgoNox Discoveries is trying to solve our world’s most pressing problems by discovering, developing and sustainably producing new compounds from marine resources. To do this, ArgoNox explores extreme ocean environments to discover novel genetic information and chemical compounds that can be used for a variety of different purposes. Since only 20 percent of the ocean has been explored, there’s a lot of ground to cover and opportunities to uncover.
“Whether the compounds we find lead to industrial enzymes, food additives or therapeutics, the possibilities are vast,” said Sarah Mishek, ArgoNox Founder and CEO. “We are currently focusing on targeting genes that encode for compounds with activity against some multi-drug resistant pathogens.”
Over the last two years, ArgoNox has explored the Deep Sea. In the future, the company plans to focus on hydrothermal vents and arctic environments. On their explorations, scientists capture samples using remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV) and proprietary collection methods. Samples include microorganisms, sediment, water, and other sessile creatures that have resident microbial communities that exhibit unique activities, such as sea sponges.
When the company launched, it had a somewhat limited budget and lacked some critical equipment for their lab.
“When we got the opportunity to go on our first expedition, we essentially had nothing,” said Mishek. “BioSurplus provided us with glassware and some consumables that were needed to get started. They also worked with us on how to best use the equipment we purchased and how we could integrate that equipment into our existing procedures and methods. They were fast, responsive and really helped us get ready for our maiden trip.”
The company also let Mishek rummaged through its “miscellaneous bin” to see what else she could use. That expedition resulted in several “little things, which really helped me conserve budget,” added Mishek.
That was a couple of years ago and since then, ArgoNox has conducted three expeditions, with more planned in the future. So far, the company is encouraged by what its scientists have found and are on track to contribute to the growing need for novel antibiotics and anti-infectives.
“BioSurplus not only allowed us minimize startup costs but also got us what we needed for our first expedition,” said Mishek. “They have a culture of wanting to nurture companies that are just starting off and cultivating a community within biotech.”