Solbar, the number three supplier of soy proteins, said the licensed technology fits well with its current activities in the food and food supplements area. It is expected to boost the firm's global position as an ingredients supplier.
The new company, called NutriCognia, will be backed by a loan of up to $4 million from the Israeli group, giving it control of 80 per cent of the venture. The rest will be held by the founders of Procognia, the UK company that developed the innovative technology.
The proprietary technology can analyse sugars, including glycoproteins (sugar-protein molecules) and glycolipids (sugar-fat molecules) in complex solutions. Glycosylation is often responsible for taste, texture, stability, and the nutritional value of food products but analysis of glycosylation is important for health and safety reasons as well. Food allergies often linked to glycosylation and bacterial contamination of food products can be detected by the carbohydrates produced by the bacteria.
Most food products contain glycosylated ingredients but NutriCognia will initially market the systems for sugar analysis to manufacturers of baby food, dairy products, beverages, protein-rich health foods and probiotic products.
Gary Brenner, marketing director for Solbar, who will lead the global marketing campaign of the new product, said potential applications for NutriCognia's glycoanalysis system include food safety and quality control, process control, competitor product analysis and reverse engineering and design of new products.
Solbar plans to first introduce the venture in Europe at HiE next month. The company has seen annual growth of between 20-30 per cent and earlier this year issued an IPO to fund further expansion. A new soy proteins plant in China is scheduled for completion at the end of the year and the firm is also looking at increasing its presence in the US, possibly through a new plant there.
The new venture is subject to a five-year sales goal. Inventor of the technology, Dr Ofer Markman, has joined as chief scientific officer along with six additional staff from Procognia.
Procognia, which was chosen by the World Economic Forum as one of 30 Technology Pioneers for 2004, is applying its technology to therapeutic proteins.