Burcon NutraScience Corp. (TSX – BU; NASDAQ - BUR) (“Burcon”) has commenced building a Peazazz semi-works production facility: a first commercial-scale plant to produce Peazazz, the world’s premier pea protein that offers exceptional usability and high-quality protein nutrition. The transparent, pea protein is expected to be available for customers looking to purchase commercial-scale market development quantities beginning in July of this year.
Planning and engineering for this semi-works production plant began in the summer of 2012. Equipment orders are now in-place and, subject to timely delivery, Burcon projects to have the facility completed and operational by mid-year.
“Since announcing Peazazz in November 2011, interest from potential customers for a clean-tasting, transparent pea protein has been very encouraging,” said Johann F. Tergesen, president and chief operating officer, adding “Creating a dedicated plant to produce Burcon's Peazazz product will allow us to grow customer demand for this innovative protein.”
The Peazazz semi-works plant, which is being built in Winnipeg, Manitoba, will enable Burcon to provide market development quantities (tonnage amounts) to customers for product and market development activities. Burcon has gained a great deal of experience in ramp up production over the last two years, with a highly competent production team, headed by Burcon’s senior vice president process, Randy Willardsen.
Peazazz is created through a proprietary patent-pending process that delivers a highly purified product with a greater than 90 percent protein concentration on a moisture-free basis. The Peazazz protein extraction technology produces a pea protein that has exceptional flavour characteristics and is completely soluble and transparent in beverage applications with a pH below 4.0.
Burcon intends to launch and demonstrate Peazazz at the 2013 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago in July.
In August 2012 Burcon announced the signing of a non-binding letter of intent with an unnamed potential commercial partner with the intention of commercializing Burcon’s Peazazz with that partner. In that regard, Burcon also announces today that it has formally requested to terminate that letter of intent and to thereby terminate the requirement that Burcon negotiate exclusively with that partner.
The economics of the plant protein industry continue to improve as a result of steady increases in the pricing of mainstream animal protein ingredients, dairy protein and egg protein, and this is a trend that is expected to continue. The implied economic value of Burcon’s pea protein extraction technology is supported by the combination of an increasing demand for protein ingredients and the simultaneous increase in price of competing protein ingredients. Burcon is investigating multiple avenues for commercializing Peazazz including alternatives ranging from licensing the technology to an existing producer or through a joint venture or the possibility of building a future full-scale production facility on its own.
“Opening up new options to commercialize this exciting protein while we accelerate our production efforts is a smart strategy,” said Brad Allen, Burcon’s lead director, adding, “Our first commercial Peazazz production facility, expected to come online later this year, will allow us to explore many more partnering opportunities while preserving the option of commercializing this exciting protein on our own.”