Genomatica enters functional food and beverage market with ketosis for all

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Genomatica
© Genomatica

Related tags exogenous ketones Sports nutrition biotech

Biotechnology company Genomatica – known for producing sustainable materials used in textiles, plastics and cosmetics – has launched Avela, a renewable (R)-1,3-butanediol chemical developed to induce exogenous ketosis in the body.

“Geno’s safe and sustainable fermentation processes have revolutionized some of the largest industries in the world, and we’re excited to bring this leading-edge technology to the functional foods and beverages market,”​ said Damien Perriman, senior vice president of specialty products at Genomatica.

“As a longstanding sustainability leader, we are well-positioned to disrupt the keto industry in ways not possible until now.”​ 

Ketosis for all and on demand

Previously reserved primarily for elite athlete biohackers, exogenous ketones have been clinically shown to provide energy, increase endurance, aid in recovery and fuel the brain. 

In speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at the SupplySide West trade show last week, Perriman said that Genomatica has succeeded in driving down the cost of ketosis, continuing the company’s “tradition of​ serving up everyday products that make a real impact in a sustainable way.”

“By operating at a large scale, we can produce Avela affordably, which aligns with our mission to make ketone ingredients available to everyone everywhere,” ​he added.

Made from plant sugars using Genomatica’s sustainable, proprietary fermentation process, Avela works by rapidly raising BHB ketone levels, the primary energy source made in the body during ketosis, to eliminate the need for a highly restrictive diet or prolonged fasting. 

“Avela is only available for use in sports, energy, and wellness products as its ability to raise blood BHB levels creates real benefits for endurance, output and mental clarity,”​ Perriman said. “It's like pumping high-octane gas into your car's engine but without the hefty price tag.”

Early brands adopting Avela as next generation to ketone esters and salts include sports nutrition company H.V.M.N. (Health Via Modern Nutrition) and life sciences company VitaNav Inc. 

High octane from high purity

Perriman explained that not all ketones are created equal and that Genomatica’s high purity process produces 99% chiral purity, meaning only the single biologically active enantiomer molecule is retained.

Avela is the pure ‘R-form’ of 1,3-butanediol, the only enantiomer that is safe and effective for raising blood plasma D-beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) levels,”​ he said.

Some of the other exogenous ketone products in the market are mixtures of enantiomers. This means consumers are paying for and ingesting only partially effective products.” 

Taste has also been an issue for exogenous ketones and a hurdle to consumer acceptance, but Perriman adds that Avela’s ability to blend well with flavoring compounds as water-soluble diol was a pleasant surprise.

Results from the company’s own clinical trial – evaluating ketone production, gastrointestinal symptomology and effects on alertness and sleepiness – are slated for publication early next year. The study will supplement the research used to demonstrate safety for R-1,3-butanediol’s self-affirmed GRAS status for use in sports drinks, bars and gels.

Trading petrochemicals for biochemicals

Founded in 1998 in San Diego, Genomatica has been working to transform the way materials are made, developing bio-based alternatives to petrochemicals used in everyday products through the combination of biotechnology, fermentation and responsibly sourced feedstocks. 

The company’s flagship (R)-1,4-butanediol (BDO) is used in spandex, footwear and plastics, and its natural butylene glycol is incorporated as humectant and carrier material for cosmetic ingredients. In the last year, Genomatica has announced collaborations with lululemon sports clothing brand to produce a plant-based nylon as alternative to conventional synthetic material and with Asahi Kaisei to apply plant-based nylon-6-6 in the automotive and electronics industries.

Sports & Active Nutrition Summit 

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