Senomyx has got the thumbs up to take its sweet taste modifier Sweetmyx (S617) to market with partners PepsiCo and Firmenich.
Sweetmyx can enable significant reductions of both high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and beet/cane sugar (sucrose) in a variety of applications including carbonated soft drinks, said Senomyx.
"Sweetmyx S617 has been determined to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) Expert Panel under the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act administered by the FDA," a spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA.
"It will be considered a flavor."
PepsiCo: Tasty beverages with less sugar and lower calories
A PepsiCo spokesperson added: "We see strong potential with Sweetmyx, and this provides us with yet another option for our innovation teams to develop flavor systems that help meet consumer desire for tasty beverages with less sugar and lower calories."
Owing to confidentiality agreements, Senomyx cannot provide details of what its partners are working on, but said PepsiCo has exclusive rights to use Sweetmyx worldwide in all non-alcoholic beverages.
Firmenich, meanwhile, has lifetime rights to commercialize Sweetmyx for food product categories and alcoholic beverages, with exclusive rights until March 2018.
"The new Sweetmyx flavor ingredient will enable the creation of lower-calorie beverages and foods that have reduced sweeteners without sacrificing taste," said Senomyx president and CEO John Poyhonen.
"We are particularly excited about the versatility of Sweetmyx since it allows for the reduction of either sucrose or fructose in products.”
PepsiCo has exclusive rights to use Sweetmyx (S617) worldwide in non-alcoholic beverages
The GRAS status allows usage of Sweetmyx as part of a flavor system in a range of non-alcoholic beverages including carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, coffee and tea products, and beverage concentrates. It can also be used with alcoholic beverages and a variety of foods including baked goods, cereals, dairy products, confectionery products, snack foods, and condiments.
Speaking on Senomyx’s Q3 earnings call last November, Poyhonen said the commercialization of S617 coupled with revenues from direct sales and royalty payments should help Senomyx achieve profitability in 2015.
Who is Senomyx?
Building on work by scientists who have successfully cloned human taste receptors for sweet, bitter and umami tastes, San Diego-based Senomyx uses high-throughput biological screening techniques to evaluate millions of molecules to identify which substances bind to specific taste receptors.
So far it has programs for sweet, savory, salt reduction, cooling and bitter-blocking, and has struck deals with big names in the industry from PepsiCo and Firmenich to Ajinomoto.
Click HERE to read more about the FEMA GRAS process.