The move comes on the back of an agreement signed in August 2009 by the Switzerland-based flavor and fragrance firm Firmenich and Californian flavor company Senomyx. The two companies have agreed to collaborate on research and development, commercialization and licensing of Senomyx sweetness enhancers, with Firmenich granted exclusive rights to commercialize a range of Senomyx ingredients designed to work in conjunction with sucrose, rebaudioside A, and fructose.
The amended agreement provides Firmenich with exclusive worldwide rights to the commercialization of S6973 in powdered beverages, instant and ready-to-drink milk, and tea and coffee beverages. Firmenich had already been working with S6973 for commercial food applications.
In return, Senomyx said it will receive additional license fees, incremental milestone payments, annual royalties and royalties on sales of products using S6973 in these additional product categories.
Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder said: "We believe that selecting Firmenich as our partner for these additional categories provides Senomyx with the best opportunity to accelerate commercialization and maximize commercial revenue for S6973.
"We have been impressed by Firmenich's progress with S6973 in the food product categories, including their efforts in product development, manufacturing scale-up, and demonstrations with key clients.”
Snyder said he expects the sucrose enhancer to be launched commercially in 2011.
Food manufacturers have been increasingly replacing part of the sugar in their products with non-caloric sweeteners and flavor enhancers in response to demand from consumers for lower calorie foods. Senomyx has said its sucrose enhancer has been developed to meet this demand as a result of its research into sweet taste receptors in the mouth. It works by making these receptors more efficient, thereby giving the impression of greater sweetness without increasing sweetener quantity.
S6973 would be listed on a product’s ingredients panel as ‘artificial flavor’, although the company claims that it has no detectable flavor on its own.