Evolva agrees extra funding to support further expansion

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock
©iStock

Related tags: evolva, Nice & Green, Veraison

Swiss biotech company, Evolva, has secured additional funding from investment firm, Nice & Green to accelerate growth in key markets and leverage manufacturing efficiencies.

The financial package will support commercial activities, product launches, and the expansion of manufacturing capacity and the firm’s “product pipeline”.

Under the latest agreement, Evolva will have access to incremental financing available on a quarterly basis, in the form of convertible notes, up to a maximum of €11.4m (CHF12m) until the end of 2023.

The deal increases Nice & Green’s total investment to (CHF28m) following a similar €26.7m (CHF16m) financial agreement in 2020.

Here, Evolva announced the release of 40 million new shares to cover present and future share delivery obligations with Nice & Green as part of the loan agreement.

This is addition to an investment packaged agreed with sustainable vineyard company, Veraison last year, which involved a share purchase worth €7.1m (CHF7.5m) representing 6.2% of Evolva’s issued share capital.

Growth was expected to remain ‘sluggish’ in 2021, with the exception health ingredients and Evolva planned to continue a review into manufacturing to implement new processes to reduce costs.

Product development

Evolva collaborated with International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) to increase development and expansion of vanillin (vanilla flavour for food and drink) at the beginning of 2020.

The firm  also launched valencene (orange flavour for food and drink, fragrances, personal and homecare) and L-arabinoise (used in the production of savoury food flavours, such as chicken and beef).

L-arabinoise also has prebiotic properties that inhibit the sucrase enzyme and absorption of sugar in the small intestine, so can support healthy blood sugar levels and weight management.

Core markets for health ingredients are the US and EU, although demand is increasing in Asia.

This includes Veri-te containing resveratrol, sourced from grapes, peanuts, cranberries and other berries, and used in dietary supplements, functional beverages, cosmetics, and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

Evolva’s nootkatone citrus ingredient (derived from grapefruit peel and the bark of the Alaska yellow cedar) is designed for food and drink flavours and product fragrances but has recently been adapted for use in insecticides and insect repellents.

It received novel active ingredient status in the US in 2020 and subsequently registered under the NootkaShield brand, although the end product has not yet reached the market due to market pressures from Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Eversweet is​a natural, calorie-free stevia sweetener developed in collaboration with Cargill, which manufactures and markets the ingredient under the brand Avansya in a joint venture with Royal DSM.

Performance

The company has six plant-based ingredients on the market, in three main sectors: flavours and fragrances, health ingredients, and health protection, and launched several products over the past few years.

Ingredients are derived from natural sources and development using sustainable fermentation technology.

Organic sales grew by 18% in 2020 driven by health ingredients and especially demand for resveratrol, according to financial results.

Nevertheless, this was well below market potential, considering orders increased by 71% compared to the previous year, and was attributed to delays in manufacturing and sluggish demand in flavours and fragrances.

Referring to the results, CEO Oliver Walker commented: “We are confident that the progress we have made in growing customer demand, product portfolio and manufacturing will start to bear fruit in the second half of 2021, once scale up in manufacturing will be mostly completed.

“We remain on track to deliver on our commitment to achieve cash break-even by 2023.”

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