COLUMBIA, Md., June 10 -- Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq: MATK) today announced that the Commission of the European Communities (the "Commission") has authorized the use of the company's docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) oil for human consumption in Decision C(2003)1790 of June 5, 2003. The Commission declared that Martek's DHA may be marketed in the European Community as a novel food ingredient. Martek's DHA oil, as produced in the company's Winchester, Kentucky facility, has been available in certain infant formulas in Europe since 1994, pre-dating the European Communities' requirement for Novel Food approval. The Commission's action pertains specifically to the DHA oil produced by the former OmegaTech, acquired by Martek in April 2002, that is specifically produced for use in food and beverage applications.
The Commission's findings follow a review of the extensive safety data on this source of DHA. This Novel Food designation authorizes the use of this source of DHA as an ingredient in foods such as certain dairy products, including cheese and yogurt, (but not milk-based drinks), spreads and dressings, breakfast cereals, food supplements and medical foods in the European Community.
"The decision of the Commission of the European Communities opens sizeable market opportunities for Martek's DHA in European food products," stated Henry "Pete" Linsert, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Martek. "Martek looks forward to providing this safe, healthy ingredient for use in a variety of applications."
The Commission decision also triggers an additional Martek milestone payment to the former OmegaTech shareholders and option holders holding contingent rights under an earnout feature of the April 2002 OmegaTech acquisition agreement as previously disclosed. The Company may issue up to approximately 290,000 shares of Martek common stock in the next 30 days relating to this milestone payment and register the resale of these shares on a form S-3 to be filed with the SEC.
Martek Biosciences Corporation develops, manufactures and sells products from microalgae. The Company's products include: (1) specialty, nutritional oils for infant formula that aid in the development of the eyes and central nervous system in newborns; (2) nutritional supplements and food ingredients that may play a beneficial role in promoting mental and cardiovascular health throughout life; and (3) new, powerful fluorescent markers for diagnostics, rapid miniaturized screening, and gene and protein detection.
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding Martek's products. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause future actual results to differ due to a variety of risk factors, including without limitation those factors set forth in Martek's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.