Senomyx narrows loss, gets FEMA GRAS for bitter blockers

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Stevia, Sugar

California-based flavor ingredients firm Senomyx has narrowed its net loss in Q3 as it made major advances with its bitter blocker and sweetness enhancer programs, the company said on Thursday.

For the third quarter ended September 30, revenues were up 40 percent to $5.8m from $4.2m for the same period in 2009, and the company made a net loss of $3.75m, compared to $6.17m a year earlier.

Senomyx also announced that it has received GRAS (generally recognized as safe) notification from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) for two of its bitter blockers, S6821 and S7958. Both ingredients are intended to work in conjunction with Reb A, the stevia extract most commonly used in stevia-based sweeteners, or to mitigate bitter notes associated with soy and whey proteins, menthol, caffeine and cocoa.

The company’s CEO Kent Snyder said in a statement: “We believe the new approvals represent additional confirmation of Senomyx's discovery, development, and regulatory experience. These are the first Senomyx bitter blockers to go through the regulatory process, and we have been granted GRAS status for all of the uses and use levels requested.”

He added that Senomyx expects to receive a $500,000 milestone payment from a collaborative partner in conjunction with the GRAS designations.

The company said it also received FEMA GRAS for its S6973 sweetness enhancer in late October. Last week, it expanded its collaboration agreement with Switzerland-based flavor and fragrance firm Firmenich for commercialization of the ingredient. S6973 works by increasing the efficiency of sweet taste receptors in the mouth, thereby giving the impression of greater sweetness without increasing sweetener quantity, allowing food manufacturers to cut calories in their products, the company said.

Senomyx also established a new collaboration with PepsiCo during the third quarter, focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of sweet enhancers and natural high-potency sweeteners for soft drinks.

“We are looking forward to working with PepsiCo, an innovative company committed to reducing added sugar in key global beverage brands,”​ the company said.

Senomyx said it received an upfront payment of $30m related to the agreement, and is entitled to a further $32m of payments over a four-year research period.

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