Darwin receives a NEOTEC project to implant the use of the wax worm as a new model for the in vivo screening of probiotics

The NEOTEC program aims to support the creation and consolidation of technology-based companies. The most relevant aspect in the proposals supported in this line is that it must be a business strategy based on the development of technology (technology must be the competitive factor of differentiation of the company), based on the creation of its own R+D lines.


The business idea that DARWIN has presented in the Neotec Program consists in the development of technology in the selection of microorganisms with activities of interest. The study of the biological activity of microorganisms and compounds requires the use of model organisms whose results can be extrapolated to humans. Mammalian models are the closest to humans in evolutionary terms, however, their use has a high price, allows a low number of simultaneous tests and involves ethical considerations.


As an alternative, non-mammalian model organisms can be used which, although less complex, are capable of generating results extrapolated to humans. Some of these simpler model organisms include Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly), Danio rerio (the zebrafish) or Caenorhabditis elegans (nematode). However, we bet on the use of Galleria mellonella, since it has certain advantages with respect to these organisms, in particular its ability to grow at 37 ° C (which allows studying the infection of pathogens at this temperature, as well as simulating the conditions of temperature of the human body, an advantage for the study of probiotic microorganisms, whose optimum growth occurs between 30 and 40 ° C).

“The development of this experimental model will increase our ability to test microorganisms or bioactive compounds with beneficial effects on the health of humans or other animals, reducing the use of murine models, with all the implications that this entails,” explains Kristie Tanner, coordinator of R & D projects of Darwin Bioprospecting Excellence.

The objective of DARWIN is to develop a new screening technology based on the use of the organism G. mellonella as a model of human diseases (specifically, its use as a model of oxidative stress and obesity) and to develop new technologies for the generation of mutants of this organism, with the final objective of developing models of diseases with symptoms extrapolated to humans in future projects.


The development of the screening system based on G. mellonella will provide us with a competitive advantage, since it is an exclusive technology that will position us as the only company capable of offering this system.