Firmenich renews sweet taste collaboration with Senomyx

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Firmenich renews sweet taste collaboration with Senomyx

Related tags Sugar

Firmenich has renewed its sweet taste collaboration with San Diego-based flavor firm Senomyx, which has reported lower revenues in the first quarter, including decreased income from the sweet taste partnership.

The R&D program collaboration has been renewed through July 2013.

Senomyx reported a 5.7% decrease in revenue during the quarter ended March 31, down to $8.2m from $8.7m last year, and a net loss of $0.05 per share, compared to $0.03 for the same period last year. The company said it received a payment of $893,000 from Firmenich in relation to its sweet taste collaboration, compared to $2.3m in the same period last year, although this was partially offset by a $500,000 development milestone related to its cooling taste program.

In a conference call with investors, CEO Kent Snyder said that the company’s ongoing collaboration with PepsiCo included interest in its S9632 sucrose enhancer, which can be used across a broader range of beverages than its S6973 sucrose enhancer. The enhancers are intended to reduce sucrose in foods and beverages by up to 50%.

“From our perspective the PepsiCo collaboration is proceeding quite well,”​ Kent said. “That collaboration is focused on research and development activity.”

Kent added: "We believe that interest in S6973 is fueled by the manufacturers' need to address the growing pressure and interest for lower calorie offerings that retain the taste consumers know and enjoy. The unique ability of S6973 to enable elimination of up to 50% of the sucrose in products without diminishing the desired sugar taste, coupled with the associated potential cost savings, is creating an important market opportunity for our sucrose enhancer.”

He said that new product introductions using its sweet taste enhancing ingredients are expected in the United States later in the year, and a product containing its S6821 bitter blocker is due to launch in South East Asia, also later this year.

The company’s senior vice president and chief financial officer Tony Rogers said: "Firmenich's decision to exercise their option to extend the R&D funding period an additional year provides another source of committed funding.”

He stressed that although the company continues to make a loss, it has no debt and $53.1m in cash.

“With no debt, a strong cash balance and multiple sources of cash going forward, we continue to be well positioned to advance our programs,” ​Rogers said.

Senomyx reiterated its financial guidance for the full year, forecasting a net loss of $7m to $10m.

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