SeaBioTech is a 48-month project designed and driven by SMEs to create innovative marine biodiscovery pipelines as a means to convert the potential of marine biotechnology into novel industrial products for the pharmaceutical (human and aquaculture), cosmetic, functional food and industrial chemistry sectors. SeaBioTech will reduce barriers to successful industrial exploitation of marine biodiversity for companies more accustomed to ‘terrestrial’ biotechnology. SeaBioTech directly addresses five key challenges to remove bottlenecks in the marine biodiscovery pipeline, leading to (1) improvements in the quality of marine resources available for biotechnological exploitation, (2) improvement in technical aspects of the biodiscovery pipeline to shorten time to market, and (3) developing sustainable modes of supply of raw materials for industry. The two last challenges centre on enabling activities to enhance the marine biodiscovery process: first, clarification of legal aspects to facilitate access to marine resources, their sustainable use, and their secure exploitation; second, to create an improved framework for access to marine biotechnology data and research materials. To achieve its goals, SeaBioTech brings together complementary and world-leading experts, integrating biology, genomics, natural product chemistry, bioactivity testing, industrial bioprocessing, legal aspects, market analysis and knowledge exchange. The expertise assembled within the consortium reflects the industry-defined needs, from the SME partners’ initial definition of market and product opportunities to their ultimate proof-of-concept demonstration activities. SeaBioTech will have significant impact on research and technology, on innovation, on European competitiveness and on economic growth. It will provide a model to accelerate the development of European biotechnology into a world leading position.