The co-funded partnership between the biotechnology company and the dairy nutrition manufacturer aims to enhance the development of microbial strains for the industrial-scale production of proteins by precision fermentation.
Precision fermentation is a technique that fine-tunes the molecular output of microorganisms, offering greater control over the fermentation process and enabling tailor-made protein compositions.
Specialising in the production of enzymes through precision fermentation, Novozymes has focused on the exploration of new protein solutions for health and nutrition since 2019.
Valerio Nannini, general manager at Novozymes Advanced Protein Solutions, states: “Precision fermentation allows us to do almost anything in terms of protein composition and structure, and this is a fantastic opportunity to harness its full potential.
“In our ambition to develop new tailor-made products Arla Foods Ingredients is the best possible partner for us. It’s already firmly positioned in medical nutrition and offers substantial insight into market needs, as well as specific manufacturing capabilities that complement ours.”
Henrik Andersen, CEO of Arla Foods Ingredients, notes: “While dairy and whey solutions will remain our core portfolio, precision fermentation offers us huge opportunities to complement our offerings in the medical nutrition space.
“Disease-specific medical nutrition is an area where there is a clear need for tailor-made protein ingredients, and precision fermentation can play a role.”
He continues: “A lot of our work at Arla Foods Ingredients is about understanding consumer needs, for example through partnerships with academic institutions and universities as well as close interaction with our customers.
“This also applies in the medical nutrition space, where our insights into both market needs and patient needs have helped us find effective ingredient solutions to key challenges. For example, we’ve developed whey protein ingredients that overcome taste challenges in products for patients with maldigestion or malabsorption."
On how the partnership will progress, Andersen explains: “We are facing major work to develop and refine both product and processes and then we will enter the safety documentation process before we begin the scale-up of production.
“Therefore we do see several years of development work before we can enter the market.”
He continues that looking forward, there could be further evolution within the partnership, stating: “While dairy and whey solutions will remain our core portfolio, precision fermentation offers us huge opportunities to complement our offerings in the medical nutrition space.
"While the initial focus of the partnership is on medical nutrition, we do believe we will also find opportunities in other segments of the food industry.”
According to a joint statement, Arla Foods Ingredients’ knowledge of the regulatory landscape will be a valuable asset in the collaboration.
Andersen states: “Regulatory factors will undoubtedly play a role in the way precision fermentation develops. It’s too early to identify the exact challenges we’ll face, but both Novozymes and Arla Foods Ingredients have a lot of expertise in manoeuvring the regulatory landscape.
“As we get closer to being able to bring exciting new products to market, this experience will be invaluable.”