Whilst neither company would disclose the precise terms of the deal, they confirmed that it was a two-part transaction, with the second part linked to future revenues generated by the yeast-based bio-synthesis technology.
“We are still long term partners. Under the agreement, Eviagenics will get a share of revenue generated from any commercialised products,” Fabrice Bohin, CEO of Eviagenics, told NutraIngredients.
He said the sale included all of Eviagenics’ “flavonoids know-how and technology”, giving Alderys the “complementary tools and expertise” to make a commercial success of the technology.
“This technology requires a lot of knowledge to make it commercially viable. Through the transfer, we are putting it into a context that will maximise the probability of success,” said Bohin.
For Alderys, which was founded in 2011 to develop bio-engineering processes for the production of high value chemical compounds from yeast cells, flavonoids are a natural addition to its portfolio.
“Flavonoids will enlarge the Alderys growing portfolio of bio-sourced compounds that have already allowed us to establish agreements with major industrial partners,” said CEO and founder Dominique Thomas in a statement.
This is the second divestment this year for venture-capitalist backed Eviagenics - a specialist in extracting ingredients from natural sources.
In June, the privately owned French firm sold its vanillin-based technology and patents to Solvay. The company said selling its flavonoids platform would enable it to concentrate fully on natural extracts and more specifically extracts from seaweed.
“In commercial seaweed extraction, typically only 20% is used, whilst the other 80% is considered waste. There is a need to valorise this raw material much better as there are many components with high functionality for human and animal health.
"We are developing a conventional seaweed range and looking at the co-extraction of molecules of high interest,” said Bohin.
To this end, Eviagenics formed a strategic alliance with Chilean seaweed specialist Gelymar earlier this year.
Selective flavonoid extraction
Alderys now has the capabilities to produce flavonoid molecules such as quercetin from plant-based raw materials, for example fructose, via fermentation techniques.
The advantage of this approach to flavonoid extraction lies in the potential to selectively produce specific molecules via a process considered both green and natural.
“You can produce molecules that you couldn’t normally obtain via traditional natural extraction methods or that you would otherwise have to synthesise chemically,” said Bohin.
“It may be that you want some molecules more than others, say, to give a particular flavour profile or nutraceutical functionality. This technology allows you to produce only the desired molecules,” he added.
This selective extraction approach also means higher yields, and therefore the potential to produce molecules more cost-effectively using less raw material and with less waste, said Bohin.
“I think Alderys will be able to apply the technology to many flavonoids; some molecules will be able to be produced far more economically than via traditional methods, whilst others might not be as interesting,” he said.