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Solazyme & Roquette to each go it alone on microalgae-sourced ingredients

By Stephen DANIELLS , 24-Jun-2013
Last updated the 24-Jun-2013 at 18:59 GMT

Californian algae expert Solazyme and French ingredients giant Roquette have dissolved their joint venture Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals (SRN), with Solazyme promising to accelerate commercialization of its suite of microalgal food ingredients.

The SRN joint venture – launched in November 2010 – has been terminated due to “divergent views on an acceptable commercial strategy and timeline for the manufacturing and marketing of joint venture products”, said Solazyme in a statement.

In a call with investors, Jonathan Wolfson, Solazyme CEO, said that the commercialization would now be “faster than would have been possible with the joint venture”.

A spokesperson for Roquette told FoodNavigator-USA that the company has been a believer in microalgae as a raw material since 2008, via its AlgoHub research program, which has enabled it to acquire significant skills and build a deep expertise on microalgae as a raw material with significant nutritional attributes.

“Roquette is well positioned to independently continue with the development of non-genetically modified, innovative microalgae-sourced ingredients for nutritional applications,” said the spokesperson.

“Roquette has invested significant resources and know-how in the commercialization of the microalgae-based food ingredients and remains committed to meeting market demands, while aligning the timing of its market launch and financial resources with its overall business objectives.”

‘Disappointed but very excited’

Solzayme is “disappointed to be dissolving the JV”, said Wolfson, because the company values partners and partnerships. Despite this, Wolfson noted that the company is “very excited about the technology and the rights that will return to Solazyme”.

Solazyme currently offers an algal oil and flour for food and nutritional applications. The Almagine HL whole algalin flour contains 50% lipids plus a mixture of protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants and micronutrients, and can be used to partially or fully replace anything that is a source of fat, from egg yolk to butter or vegetable oil.

The Altein algalin protein is a highly digestible protein that also contains fiber, lipids and micronutrients, along with a unique amino acid profile, offering an innovative new source of vegetable protein for the nutraceuticals market.

The FDA had no objections about the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of the algal oil in 2012 , while a letter of no objection from the Agency was received for the flour earlier this month, said Wolfson (this has not yet been updated on the FDA GRAS inventory). 

The Roquette spokesperson added: "The company that will retain brand names previously commercialized under the joint venture Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals will be disclosed as part of the of the joint venture dissolution. Roquette cannot comment on this at this stage.

"All ingredients that were part of the of the SRN joint venture were produced in Lestrem, France, by Roquette, and Roquette will continue production of these ingredients."

Roquette: ‘No more JVs at this time’

Roquette is not considering other joint ventures at this time, added the spokesperson.

“What we can ensure today is that Roquette will pursue microalgae nutrition technology on its own as it deeply believes in its ability to match the market’s expectations in this business and intends to allow its existing clients to pursue their own microalgae based products development.”

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