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Senomyx balance sheet benefits from product launches

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 03-May-2010

Senomyx revenues increased 120 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year, as three of its major collaborators simultaneously launched products using Senomyx ingredients.

The flavor ingredients company made a net loss of $1.8m during the quarter, a narrower loss than the $7.3m of Q1 2009, and smaller than many analysts had expected. Revenues were $7.7m for the quarter, up from $3.5m a year earlier.

CEO Kent Snyder said: "The beginning of 2010 has been very eventful for Senomyx. We strengthened our balance sheet through our February financing and the receipt of nearly $10 million in milestone and license fee payments from collaborators. In addition, for the first time in Senomyx's history, three of our collaborators, Nestle SA, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., and Firmenich SA, are conducting new market introductions of products that contain Senomyx flavor ingredients.”

The company’s COO John Poyhonen said in a conference call with industry analysts that Nestlé has introduced products during Q1 using Senomyx’s bouillon and culinary aid food products and it continues to sell foods containing its flavor enhancers; flavor firm Firmenich has started marketing the company’s sucralose enhancer S2383, on which Senomyx receives royalties; and Japanese ingredients company Ajinomoto is continuing the introduction of products containing Senomyx flavor ingredients, including the launch of an ingredient mix on the Chinese market.

Senomyx also agreed to continue its collaboration with The Coca-Cola Company on April 26, when it signed a term sheet confirming the companies’ intention to continue their joint research program. Coca-Cola and Senomyx have been working together since 2002 on projects related to the discovery, development and commercialization of new flavor ingredients resulting from Senomyx’s sweet flavor technology.

They are thought to be working on a sucrose flavor enhancer that would allow reduction of sugar in carbonated beverages, adding to Senomyx’s work on the sucrose enhancer S6973, which received the regulatory go-ahead in the United States last October. The S6973 sucrose enhancer is suitable for reducing sugar in foods and specific beverages by up to 50 percent, the company says, including dairy-based drinks and instant coffees and teas. But Senomyx has said that the beverage industry has specific packaging and storage requirements for which its S6973 product is not suited.

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