Within five years, Port Hueneme will be home to about a quarter million giant keyhole limpets, a species of 5-inch-wide sea snail with a cone-shaped shell.
It’s part of the business plan for Stellar Biotechnologies, a small firm that today uses about 40,000 limpets to make a protein used in cancer vaccine research. After more than a decade of quietly developing its technology with a mix of sales revenue and federal research money, Stellar went public April 20, raising about $3.2 million on the TSX Venture Exchange, a Canadian stock exchange.
Stellar’s product is a blood protein called keyhole limpet hemocyanin, or KLH. Stellar sells it to researchers, who are using it to develop cancer vaccines and test immune response.
But Stellar raised a big round of capital for the first time in its history to investigate selling drugs of its own.