Twelve Newfoundland and Labrador companies have been awarded a total of $1.9 million in research and development grants this year.  

The announcement was made Wednesday by Terry French, minister responsible for the Research & Development Corporation. 

Oceans Ltd. of St. John's was one of the businesses given funding. The company is best known for providing sea condition forecasts for the offshore industry.

President Judith Bobbitt said their latest project however, has been the exploration of the healing properties of seaweed. 

Judith Bobbitt of Oceans Ltd.

Judith Bobbitt is the president of Oceans Ltd. Over the past five years, the company has screened coldwater seaweed species, to determine which species contain extracts that may provide health benefits. (CBC)

"We realized that the seaweeds along our coasts, during storms in some cases, they got almost eliminated, but they regrow very quickly. So, being scientists, we realized there has to be something at work here," Bobbitt said.

Oceans has tested 60 local species of seaweed and discovered a wide variety of health benefits, from healing properties to fighting acne, aging and cancer.

She said they are also looking at a possible treatment for Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease. 

"We have enough information on two of our extracts that we can patent now." 

Bobbitt said once they get the complete identification of the molecules involved, it will be full steam ahead.

Other companies that received funding are Kean Marine Inc., Camouflage Software Inc., Indigena Enterprises Inc., Lester Farms Inc., Semintha Nutraceuticals Ltd., Frost Heave Solutions, NOCLAND Business Inc., Beaufort Solutions Inc., Acoustic Zoom Inc., Seamatica Aerospace Ltd. and Seashore Consultants Ltd.