In particular, Senomyx has carried out research that aims to better understand how sweet taste receptors in the mouth work over the past year, as part of a new partnership with PepsiCo. Senomyx also signed an agreement at the beginning of this year with Cadbury Adams USA, to use its proprietary technologies in the development and commercialization of new flavor modulators for gum and medicated confectionery products.
CEO Kent Snyder said: "Senomyx's extensive patent portfolio has been integral for the establishment of product discovery, development, and commercialization collaborations with world-class food, beverage, and ingredient supply companies. Our novel assay systems have helped Senomyx discover and develop new flavor ingredients that have beneficial properties for consumers and provide competitive advantages for our commercialization partners."
The company is now the owner or exclusive licensee of more than 230 patents in the United States, and around the world, and has about 200 patents and patent applications that relate to its sweet taste research program.
Senior vice president and chief scientific officer at the company Donald Karanewsky said that Senomyx’s taste receptor-based screening assays allow for much higher throughput of potential new ingredients than traditional flavor discovery methods. It patent claims relate to the use of taste receptors in assays designed to identify new flavor ingredients that induce or modulate sweet, savory, bitter, and other taste sensations, Karanewsky said.
He added: “As we make new advances in taste science, Senomyx actively seeks further patent protection for our discoveries and inventions, including claims associated with additional receptor sequences, taste receptor function, expression and assay technologies, and flavor ingredients and applications.”
Senomyx’s research into sucrose enhancement in particular has gained a lot of attention, as food and beverage manufacturers look for ways to cut sugar and other nutritive sweeteners in their products without sacrificing flavor. One such ingredient is S6973, which the company said has been developed as the result of years of research into sweet taste receptors.
The ingredient gained regulatory approval last year for use in foods and certain drinks, such as instant coffee and tea. Senomyx said that S6973 works by making sweet taste receptors more efficient, thereby giving the impression of greater sweetness without increasing sweetener quantity.