Martek Biosciences Corporation said customers of its flagship DHA and ARA ingredients will not be impacted in any way by a new major licensing agreement with Numico.
The firm has already been supplying the Danone subsidiary with DHA and ARA for infant formula products since 1994. Martek said the move announced today will simply extend the companies' existing supply agreement.
"This will absolutely not affect the supply of ingredients to other customers," a company spokesperson told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
Martek's branded DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), life'sDHA, is made from microalgae under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions. Martek differentiates life'sDHA as being free from the contaminants that may be present in fish oils.
Both DHA and ARA (arachidonic acid) are found in human breast milk and are important to infant development.
The company's vegetarian source of omega-3 DHA is used in foods, beverages, infant formula and supplements, while omega-6 ARA is used only for infant formula.
Martek and Numico
Under the firms' new agreement, Martek will be Numico's exclusive supplier for all of its ARA and microbially-derived DHA for infant formula products. Numico may continue to use alternative non-microbial DHA sources.
The new agreement provides for a 15-year term, with Numico having the right to terminate the arrangement as of January 2012, said Martek in a statement.
Both Martek and Numico currently have a big presence in the global infant nutrition market. Martek said its blend of DHA and ARA is currently used in over 97 percent of US infant formulas. Numico claims to hold the leading position in 25 of its 33 infant formula markets worldwide.
"With this new agreement, more than 70 percent of Martek's business in the infant formula market is subject to multi-year sole source agreements," said Steve Dubin, Martek CEO.
The company is due to announce its first quarter results next month.