The acquisition comes in response to the booming demand for astaxanthin, said Dr Rudi Moerck, Valensa's CEO. “The demand for this remarkable substance has grown to the point where we can no longer be subject to the existing farming techniques to gain access to our important raw materials,” he said.
“We are significantly diversifying our source of supply. This acquisition, along with our production in India, our US-based supply agreements and the development of our ZanthinNEX nature-equivalent form will ensure our ability to include Astaxanthin in a broad range of exciting human health formulations moving into the future.”
The acquisition of Alimtec, which had been a supplier of high-quality astaxanthin biomass to Valensa for over two years, will augment Valensa's ability to expand its natural astaxanthin offerings, said the company. Alimtec has infrastructure in place to produce four times its current production.
Currently, Valensa offers nearly 20 products that include astaxanthin, it said, with more than 10 that have patents in place.
“The acquisition of Alimtec makes good business sense for Valensa and Parry,” said Dr Moerck. “This gives us a natural raw material supply in the Southern hemisphere that augments our existing Northern hemisphere sources. As a result, I'm happy to say that the days of force majeure for astaxanthin suppliers are numbered.
“But access to a steady supply of astaxanthin is only the beginning of the story. What is exciting is the ability we will have to develop an ever broadening range of clinically studied human health products that feature this ingredient as we move into the future.”
Natural and ‘nature equivalent’ offerings
One issue in ramping up supply in the astaxanthin sector is the wide variety of methods employed by companies competing in the market. The approaches range from open ponds, to partially closed systems, to production methods fully enclosed within bioreactors. It’s unclear at this moment what the winning technology will be, or whether the various approaches will continue to be competitive.
In addition to its natural astaxanthi, which is derived from Haematococcus pluvialis algae, the company announced earlier this year that it would begin commercial offering un late 2014 of a ‘nature equivalent’ form of astaxanthin called ZanthinNEX. According to the company, ZanthinNEX is a form of the carotenoid Astaxanthin produced via a proprietary process using a nature-based enzymatic conversion that delivers a product that is ‘nature equivalent’ but actually purer than conventional astaxanthin produced via algal extraction.