Cyanotech product gets OK

Amid a run-up in its stock price, Kona-based Cyanotech Corp. announced that its microalgae product Spirulina has gotten Food and Drug Administration approval for use in health food products.

Cyanotech Spirulina, which is a dried form of common blue-green microalgae is marketed as a nutritional supplement. It is noted for its content of fatty acids, vitamins, beta-carotene and vegetable protein. Following a safety revenue, the FDA has recognized Spirulina as being generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in a variety of foods. The supplement is popularly used in food bars, powdered drink mixes, snacks such as popcorn and as a condiment in salads and pastas. It is cultivated in the United States by Cyanotech and Petaluma, Calif.-based Earthrise.

"We are gratified that the FDA had no objection to our GRAS determination for Spirulina," said John E. Dore, scientific director for Cyanotech. "This added safety assurance ... paves the way for Spirulina's use in other food products."

Last week, Cyanotech's stock more than doubled in response to the company's strong fiscal second-quarter earnings that came out Oct. 30. It reported a loss for the quarter ended Sept. 30 of $10,000, compared to a loss of $540,000 a year ago.

Cyanotech's stock price has risen from 48 cents before the earnings announcement to $1.24 at yesterday's close.

Cyanotech is being threatened with delisting from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market for failing to comply with the $1 minimum bid price listing requirement; a level that, until last week, it had not hit since May 2002. The company has appealed the delisting and is awaiting a decision from the Nasdaq.


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