Provexis plc made good this week on a letter of intent from February to ramp up exposure of Fruitflow, a functional ingredient derived from tomato extract with clinically proven benefits for cardiovascular health. Fruitflow remains of particular interest to the industry as the first ingredient to receive health claim approval from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) under Article 13.5.
Provexis now enters into a long-term alliance with DSM Nutritional Products for marketing Fruitflow. The deal gives DSM exclusive global rights in an undisclosed profit split that allows Provexis to focus on the science—clearly, its strong suit—with manufacturing and sales now in DSM’s court. After Provexis spun out of the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen, DSM Venturing took a 30% stake in the company and remains a major shareholder to this day. This investment arm of DSM operates independently from the operational side of the business.
According to company statements, launching Fruitflow is just one of three strategic objectives planned this year. NSP#3G, another functional ingredient derived from plantains with digestive applications and possible efficacy in the scary world of super-bugs, has entered into human trials for Crohn’s patients. Finally, Provexis hopes to capitalize on its market strength through acquisition.
NBJ Bottom Line
Good science continues to make good business.
Provexis has the enviable allure that comes from passing EFSA’s stringent hurdles and succeeding where so many others have failed. This competitive advantage leads to demonstrable results. Take the DSM alliance, for one, but also look at the £7.1 million raised through two stock offerings in late 2009. Provexis is a clear example of the separation occurring in the industry between companies that can scientifically prove health claims, and those that can only dream of it.
But even Provexis remains cautious in this challenging regulatory environment. “The functional food sector continues to be somewhat fragile, given the increased regulatory burden in relation to health claims, which is causing uncertainty across the industry,” said Provexis CEO Stephen Moon in a statement. “This, together with the still tentative approach to innovation by major brand owners as a result of economic factors and the regulatory issues, leads us to maintain our cautious outlook.”
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