Eggshell membrane ingredient supplier Biova LLC is starting to flex its muscles in the joint health markets now that a lengthy and draining patent litigation case is settled.
In October, Biova and ESM Technologies settled an infringement suit over ESM’s patent on its eggshell membrane ingredient. The two sides essentially agreed to bury the hatchet and go their own ways. It opens the door for Biova’s patented technology to create a water soluble ingredient, said Matt Stegenga, Biova’s director of marketing.
“It’s the only water-soluble eggshell membrane ingredient on the market,” he told NutraIngredients-USA at the Expo West trade show in Anaheim, Calif.
While the suit cost Biova several years, it hasn’t all been time wasted, Stegenga said.
“We spent the time getting our science done and getting our marketing in order,” he said.
Joint health support
Biova markets BiovaFlex, an ingredient for the joint health markets. BiovaFlex is described as a proprietary natural ingredient that consists of non-denatured collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid (HA), along with the elastin building blocks desmosine and iso-desmosine. It is said to support the stability and flexibility of synovial joint functions. Biova says its preliminary clinical research indicates BiovaFlex supports joint health via WOMAC measurement reductions of 20 percent. The 14-day study also showed improved functional flexibility by 19 percent.
It's a large potential market. As many as 140 million adults in the US report having problems with their joints, Stegenga said. And the market seems eager for an alternative to the old standbys.
"Glucosamine and chondroitin are tired ingredients," he said.
Biova has an agreement with Valensa International to develop a line of gummies that include the ingredient. Getting enough of the active into the gummies has been a time-consuming challenge, Stegenga said, but the problems have been solved and the product is close to coming to market.
“Valensa’s concept of utilizing a gummy-type delivery system for joint health supplementation is a truly unique marketing opportunity,” Stegenga said. The plan is to market the product both for domestic markets and in the EU.
In addition to concluding the lawsuit and entering into the deal with Valensa, Bioava, a privately-held company based in Johnson, IA, continues to develop the BiovaFlex ingredient, and has raised its protein concentration to 88% from the 85% level with which the ingredient made its market debut.
“The science indicates bioactivity is tied to the natural, non-denatured egg membrane matrix,” Stegenga said. “The primary composition of this matrix is a natural ratio of complex proteins including glycosaminoglycans, collagen, elastin, desmosine, isodesmosine and transforming growth factor. So yes, hitting uniform 88 percent protein across all BiovaFlex production is significant for us because it’s important for our customers’ products.”
Skin and pet care
Biova has also used its hydrolyzation technology to develop ingredients for the skin care and pet care markets. BiovaDerm, meant for topical skin creams, contains glycosaminoglycans, dermatan sulfate, chondroitin-4-sulfate, and other elements including ovotransferrin, 3-desmosine and isodesmosine, lysyl oxidase, lysozome. Target applications for BiovaDerm include support for connective, epithelial and neural tissue functions, and support for healthy skin tonality, moisture retention and vitality functions.
BiovaPlex is meant for pet care products, both for large animals, such as horses, as well as dogs and cats. Behaviors such as not using the litter box can be traced to joint discomfort, something that can sometimes be hard to detect, Stegenga said.