Resveratrol drives increased sales for Evolva as it 2018 stevia launch

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

iStock / hirun
iStock / hirun

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Swiss-based biotech Evolva is looking to triple is sales in 2017 as the firm takes steps to transform from a research focus into a product-based company.

According to its first-half results, product sales have risen sharply in 2017 – with revenues from product sales now accounting for 25% of total income (up from 11% last year).

The company said the recent launch of branded resveratrol ingredient Verti-te has brought a sharp increase in sales revenue, whilst first half of 2017 saw a steady increase in revenues for its nootkatone ingredient in the flavours and fragrance space.

“This is an exciting time for Evolva to take the next logical step in our company’s transformation process into a product-based company,”​ said CEO Simon Waddington. “There is a considerable demand to bring natural ingredients to the market for health, wellness and nutrition and related fields. However, many are limited by supply chain issues. Our mission remains to solve such issues by delivering cost-competitive products, produced in a sustainable way through bio-production.”

Evolva also confirmed that it has made good progress in the commercialisation of its fermented stevia product EverSweet, alongside long-time development partner Cargill.

Stevia progress

Evolva was the first company to identify and characterise several enzymes involved in Reb M biosynthesis pathways – for which the company now has 17 granted and 88 pending applications around the world (including 2 granted in the US and 5 in Europe).

According to the firm, the EverSweet ingredient has gained strong consumer and industry interest, and on-track for launch in 2018.

“In April 2017 we announced a major collaboration agreement with Cargill for the production and commercialisation of EverSweet the next-generation stevia sweetener,”​ said Evolva. “Under the agreement, Evolva could receive up to 30% of the profits of the EverSweet business, determined as a function of the strain efficiencies achieved.”

Resveratrol revenues

Sales for resveratrol in the first half of 2017 surpassed those obtained in the whole of 2016, said the company – noting that the key applications for its ingredient currently remain in the dietary supplement space, with a strong focus on products for healthy ageing.

“The launch of Veri-te opens up new opportunities for jointly branded finished products,”​ said Evolva in its H1 statement.

The firm said production efficiency has improved significantly – adding that it believes further efficiencies in the years to come will widen resveratrol’s market potential.

“The efforts are beginning to bear fruit as our commercial pipeline has increased to some 150 engaged customer discussions,”​ said Evolva. “We intend to sign additional strategic distribution agreements and widen both the geographic and product ranges for resveratrol.”

It added that in addition to investigating new areas of human health such targeting bone calcification and cognitive health, the company is also looking at new potential aplications in the feed and aquaculture sectors.

Outlook and strategy

According to Waddington, the transformation of Evolva to a product-based company will continue throughout 2017, with a review of operational strategy already initiated. Further detail and results of this review are expected at the end of Q3, said the company.

“Over the past 13 years Evolva has invested considerable resources to build a powerful and unique innovation engine to make complex ingredients, and importantly, link it to cost-efficient manufacturing processes,”​ said the CEO.

However, he noted that the company does not intend to invest large sums into own manufacturing facilities.

“We prefer to partner strategically with those who already have such assets, like we have done with Cargill,”​ he said. “Similarly, we are now exploring a commercial strategy to rapidly expand product sales, working with market leading companies to bring products to market.”

Following this, the company said it expects to expand its customer pipeline, which in turn should boost product revenues.

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