Swiss biotech firm Evolva has agreed to buy undisclosed assets from Fluxome, as it leaves its pure pharma research past in the dust and throws the embattled Danish supplier a lifeline.
Evolva chief financial officer Jakob Dynnes Hansen told NutraIngredients the deal would conclude, “in a couple of weeks” regulatory approval forthcoming, at which time it would become apparent which part of Fluxome’s business had been acquired – resveratrol or its advanced yeast derived omega-3 research programme.
Fluxome, which shut shop on the Danish branch of its operation at the end of September as its resveratrol business faltered, has been in a “formal reconstruction” (a form of bankruptcy under Danish law) process that will consider the Evolva offer and other aspects in Danish courts on November 28.
Chairman Jarne Elleholm said his firm was delighted by Evolva’s bid, and that negotiations with other parties were ongoing for the remaining part of the business.
“We are waiting for approval but Evolva is a good company that can take this forward as they are dedicated to the area and have a scientific pedigree. Fluxome will be split in two.”
It is unknown what affect this will have on the US operation, which has continued running amid the crisis.
Elleholm said the 21 former employees at the Danish operation have been informed of the developments.
Evolva: Pharma to food
Dynnes Hansen said the move was a good one for a firm now fully committed to the nutra space, after years of pharma biotech research.
“We were founded with a pharma focus as are most biotech companies – until 2-3 years ago when we started with stevia so now we have shifted completely away from pharma and are focusing on food and nutrition,” Dynnes Hansen said. “Now we are almost exclusively non-pharma other than a little outsourced research for the likes of Roche.”
Evolva gained a stevia line after it bought US firm Abunda Nutrition in 2010.
“We had companies that wanted to use our technology outside the pharma area and we found out our technology was suitable and there was good demand for it in nutrition. So we have moved that way. There is not the same risk profile as pharma especially the later stages of development. It is high cost and high risk.”
The global resveratrol supply market is valued at about €40m according to Frost and Sullivan data, with 90% of volumes accounted for by the US food supplements market.
Frost said Europe would retain second place in the market with the Asia Pacific region growing the fastest – especially Australia and New Zealand. Frost differentiated between the food supplements and functional food markets.