Stevia First says tie-in with biotech firm will help drive dietary ingredient development

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Stevia First says tie-in with biotech firm will help drive dietary ingredient development

Related tags Stevia Nutrition

Stevia First Corp. says a collaboration with biotech firm BioViva Sciences validates its fermentation technology platform and will help drive the development of dietary supplement ingredients beyond steviol glycosides.

The recently announced team-up, while aimed mostly at the pharmaceutical space on BioViva’s end, will aid Stevia First in its gene-targeted strategy for dietary ingredient development, Stevia First CEO Robert Brooke said.

Synergistic approaches

“We are developing dietary supplement and functional food ingredients and we are taking a rigorous pharmaceutical approach to doing that as we we identify certain genes or pathways that we want to influence,” ​Brooke told NutraIngredients-USA.

“We are focused on various pathways like the AMPK and sirtuin pathways.  Their approach is modulating certain genes to have long lasting protective effects.  The approaches are certainly going to be somewhat synergistic.  The degree is as yet uncertain,”​ he said.

Stevia First’s geroprotector development program is geared towards identifying novel genes, drugs, and nutritional products that influence lifespan, and which could have a profound effect on human metabolism. As part of this work, the Company's "AI Scientist" discovery program is analyzing publicly-available aging genomics data, then using machine learning algorithms in order to identify key genetic regulators of disease. From this information, the Company is then able to identify food, nutritional, and pharmaceutical interventions that influence these genetic pathways and that may be useful for treatment or prevention of diabetes and obesity.

BioViva is developing novel gene therapy protocols where single-dose administrations can have lasting and potentially life-long benefits on human health. BioViva has a portfolio of patented gene therapy products including ones related to heart disease and neurological disorders. As part of the scientific collaboration, SF Corp's team will provide BioViva with lists of novel genes and gene combinations believed to be upstream regulators of disease and that will be evaluated as candidate gene therapies for diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders.Stevia First has worked out the fine points of its fermentation technology  by producing a steviol glycoside via the method.  The technology works by developing microorganisms that will excrete source molecules as feedstock and identifying others that produce enzymes that will, when combined with the appropriate feed stock, produce the target molecule of interest, in the case of the company’s first commercial target the steviol glycoside Rebaudioside A. 

Fermentation platform

The first goal of the Stevia First’s fermentation technology was to foster domestic stevia production to bring a made in USA product to market cost effectively that would help alleviate supply concerns. The company is cultivating stevia in California to supply the natural label claim sweeteners market, which stevia CEO Robert Brooke said he believes will be a facet of the market for years to come.  But to capture the demand for a cost effective solution that is not sensitive to natural claims, the company pursued its parallel nature identical strategy.

Now the company is seeking to take that expertise beyond the realm of sweeteners into the broader category of nutraceuticals. The new ingredients of interest work in what has been called the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway. AMPK plays a key role as a master regulator of cellular energy homeostasis and as such lies at the heart of concerns about metabolic disorders, Brooke said.  The AMPK pathway also figures into the company’s concept of “geroprotectors,” which are food and nutritional products designed to have functional effects that mimic the health benefits of proper diet and exercise.

Related news

Related products

show more

A Taste of Metabolic Health

A Taste of Metabolic Health

ADM | 21-Mar-2023 | Case Study

Are you ready to transform the way consumers support their metabolic health? Our latest case study featuring ADM’s propriety, awarding winning strain Bifidobacterium...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more


View more