Charlottetown-based Nautilus Biosciences, a subsidiary of U.K. specialty chemical-maker Croda Intl., has marked its official opening as the new Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology.

The announcement on Wednesday comes about nine months after the P.E.I. marine biotech company was purchased by Croda for an undisclosed price.  At the time of the purchase, Russell Kerr, company founder and  University of Prince Edward Island professor, said that becoming part of the Croda group would provide Nautilus with the resources and support to establish a centre for the research and development of marine-derived natural products.

Now, Croda has established Nautilus Biosciences as Croda’s Global Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology at Nautilus’ existing base at UPEI. Nautilus Biosciences has exclusive global access to the Marine Microbial Library, which is based at the university.

“This is an exciting day for us,” said Kerr in the statement. “We’ve been very fortunate to build on a relationship with a multinational speciality chemical company that values growth through sustainable innovation – enhancing our ability to discover even more marine microbes as a potential source of commercial ingredients. We are very proud to be opening this Centre of Innovation in Marine Biotechnology in Prince Edward Island.”

Prior to the January purchase, Nautilus had worked with Croda for six years, developing applications for skin and hair care and crop care.

The statement said that Kerr has worked since 2007 to establish the Marine Microbial Library at UPEI, collecting marine samples from the oceans of Canada and around the world and developing techniques to assess their value as sources of sustainable chemistry.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Croda has a market capitalization of £6.38 billion ($10.6 billion) and in calendar 2016 had sales of £1.2 billion. The company is so acquisitive that it has a tab on its website to show the companies around the world that it has purchased.

The statement Wednesday said that Croda’s investment in the new Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology will accelerate Nautilus’ research and product development work that identifies sustainable, natural sources of functional ingredients.

The opening of the expanded Nautilus facility follows the investment by Croda in an automated high-throughput screening system that increases the discovery of products derived from the marine microbe library.

“Croda’s investment in Nautilus is a testament to the quality of the innovation ecosystem in PEI. Our business, research, and government partners work together to help academics and early stage companies commercialize their technologies and attract new investment,” said Rory Francis, Executive Director of the PEI BioAlliance, the private sector-led partnership of businesses, research and academic institutions and government agencies working to build the province’s bioscience sector.

“This is how we continue to grow this sector and increase its contribution to our provincial economy,” Francis said.